February 09, 2014 - 9:24 AM
IOC DOESN'T PLAN TO INVESTIGATE
SOCHI, Russia - The International Olympic Committee won't investigate reports of a proposed deal between figure skating judges, calling the rumours "groundless."
Canadian ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir found themselves in the middle of a brewing scandal on Saturday night after French newspaper L'Equipe reported a proposed agreement between Russian and American judges to keep the Canadians off the top of the podium.
"Co-operation between the U.S. and Russia? In this case absolutely not," IOC communications director Mark Adams said at a press briefing Sunday morning. "I have seen absolutely no evidence apart from the claim, so we would treat that as a bit of gossip, frankly, which is groundless."
L'Equipe's story, under the headline "Petits arrangements entre amis" — or "Small arrangements between friends" — cited an unnamed Russian coach as saying there was a "proposed barter" between the two countries.
The proposed judging fix, according to L'Equipe, would ensure Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White would win gold ahead of Canada's defending Olympic champion.
Virtue and Moir finished second to their American rivals in the short dance segment of the new team event Saturday night. Afterward, they shrugged off any suggestions of a fix.
"(Judging) is not at the top of our minds," Moir said. "Being Canadians we lived through Sale and Pelletier. . . figure skating has a storied past with all that stuff. But the beautiful thing about being an athlete guys is that's none of our concern."
The rumours brought back memories of the judging scandal in Salt Lake City, when Canadians Jamie Sale and David Pelletier were temporarily denied gold due to backroom dealing between judges.
The scandal prompted a complete overhaul of the judging system in hopes of curtailing any judging fixes.
U.S. Figure Skating called the comments "categorically false."
"There is no 'help' between countries," the national organization said in a statement. "We have no further response to rumours, anonymous sources or conjecture."
Adams said the report wasn't an IOC matter, but that of the International Skating Union.
"I would suggest you put that to them. I am sure they are looking at it already," Adams said. "Of course we take it seriously. The only point I was trying to make was, having read the report, I didn't actually see anything beyond an unnamed person making a kind of general allegation. But the first instance would be the skating federation."
News from © The Canadian Press, 2014