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(Feb 12) BY BEVERLEY SMITH, The Globe and Mail

Salt Lake City -- The outcome of the Olympic ice dancing competition has already been determined, sources believe, and Canadian champions Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz will likely be shut out of the medals.

Allegations of prejudging and deal-making have been made in the past, such as four years ago at the Nagano Games, where the nine-time Canadian champions finished fourth. This time, they are slotted for fifth place behind Italy, Russia, France and Lithuania.

Some expected a last-minute push to get the Russian ice dancers, Irina Lobacheva and Ilia Averbukh, into position for the gold ahead of Italians Barbara Fusar-Poli and Maurizio Margaglio on Friday if Elena Berezhnaia and Anton Sikharulidze of Russia hadn't won gold in the pairs event last night.

The Canadians will face trouble right from the start, when a group of judges will agree to try to force Bourne and Kraatz into fifth place after the first compulsory dance. Canada does not have a judge on the panel. The draw for judges was made three months ago and also excluded the United States and France.

Continuing allegations of improper judging led Richard Pound of Montreal, a former vice-president of the International Olympic Committee, to call again in December for the removal of ice dancing from the Olympic program.

He first suggested dropping dance from the Olympics in 1998, after judging scandals marred the event in Nagano. Pound, who is aware that judging is still an issue, suggests replacing the ice-dancing competition with a team event, including men's, women's and pairs skaters, in a format similar to a gymnastics team event.

He said there are fewer problems with singles and pairs skating. "The competitions are won on the ice and not in clandestine meetings before the event takes place."

The Salt Lake competition will have judges from Russia, Italy, Israel, Ukraine, Lithuania, Azerbaijan, Switzerland, Germany, Bulgaria and Poland. On the panel is Yuri Balkov, the Ukrainian judge who rattled off the order of finish before the free dance at the Nagano Games to Canadian judge Jean Senft, who recorded the conversation. When Senft presented the evidence to the International Skating Union, she was suspended along with Balkov.

Balkov showed up at the world championships in Vancouver last March and managed to get accreditation and take over from another Ukrainian judge.

The only competition that seemed to break the alleged mould of predetermined judging was the Grand Prix Final in Kitchener, Ont., in December. Five of the seven judges placed French skaters Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat first after the first free dance and Bourne and Kraatz first after the second. Bourne and Kraatz ended up winning the event, while the reigning world champions, Fusar-Poli and Margaglio of Italy, were placed fourth after skating the same program that won them the world title.

The five judges at Kitchener were asked to write multiple letters of explanation by Russian referee Alexander Gorshkov, who will also referee the dance event at Salt Lake.

There was no Russian judge on the panel for the Grand Prix Final. A Russian substitute judge placed the Italians first in all segments of the Grand Prix Final competition, but his vote didn't count. Gorshkov's placements also put the Italians first overall.

The president of the International Skating Union, Ottavio Cinquanta, was said to be very annoyed that Fusar-Poli and Margaglio weren't on the medals podium at the Grand Prix Final. Cinquanta, an Italian, lives in Milan, where the Italian dancers train.





I'm sick and tired of these fucking politics. After 14 years watching and following it, it's over!
 

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I will watch the ice dancing ONLY to see Borne and Kratzz.

I don't expect they will medal even if they skate the best performace ever - I totaly beleive that the results are fixed again.

The fact they have that idiot judge back on the panel takes any credibility that was left, out of the event (if there was any left?).

Its disgusting, but its the way it works.

But I'd still encourage you to watch our fellow Canadians make us proud. Who cares what the judges think :cool:
 

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may the best wins.;):angel:
 

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ummmm....let's just hope for the best.:angel: :kiss:
 
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