Let's Make a Deal? Americans Deny Skating Quid Pro Quo

Let's Make a Deal? Americans Deny Skating Quid Pro Quo

Where’s Shane Stant when you need him?

The conspiratorial, cutthroat world of figure skating just added a new chapter to its legend. A report out of France claims a deal between Russian and U.S. figure skating organizations that would all but guarantee golds for Americans Meryl Davis for Charlie White in the ice dance competition in exchange for judging help for Russian skaters in the team and pairs event.

By all accounts, the pair known as “Merylie” needed little help from the judges in their much-lauded routine on Saturday. 

“Comments made in a ‘L’Equipe’ story are categorically false,” American figure skating authorities maintained Saturday. “There is no ‘help’ between countries. We have no further response to rumors, anonymous sources or conjecture.”

If true, it wouldn’t be the first time that a skating competition was decided in a back room instead of on the ice. At Salt Lake City in 2002, judges inexplicably awarded first place to a Russian pair that fell in one routine and failed to properly execute a double axel in another. French judge Marie-Reine Le Gougne confessed to pressure from her nation’s skating body to honor a quid pro quo that aided the Russians in exchange for the Russians aiding a French pair in the ice dance event.

The International Olympic Committee subsequently banned the judge and awarded dual sets of gold medals to the Russians and the slighted Canadian team of Jamie Sale and David Pelletier. The Sochi games also mark the twentieth anniversary of the Lillehammer games in which Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan competed after goons associated with Harding assaulted her rival in a skating rink in Detroit.

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