French Skating Judges

RORY: We are not supposed to be brokering backdoor deals and pushing through agendas with intimidation and bribery. I mean, what are we, French skating judges?

Rory refers to the figure skating scandal of the 2002 Winter Olympics, held in Salt Lake City, Utah, in February of that year.

It was alleged that the pairs’ figure skating competition had been fixed, in which a French judge had compromised scores. The Russian team was awarded the gold, to a furious reaction from Canadian commentators, who believed that their team’s performance was clearly superior. The US press supported Canada, and suspicion quickly fell on the French judge, Marie-Reine Le Gougne. Le Gougne admitted being pressured to choose the Russian team, but later denied any wrongdoing.

After limited investigation of the issues, a second award ceremony was held, and two pairs teams received gold medals: the Russian team, and also the silver medalists, from Canada [pictured]. As a result of this scandal, the International Skating Union suspended two officials for three years: Marie-Reine Le Gougne, and the head of the French skating federation. A Russian organised crime boss was arrested for fixing the Olympics while in Italy, but released due to lack of evidence.

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