Quick Intro: 2002 Winter Olympics Ice Skating Judging Controversy
The 2002 Winter Olympic ice skating judging controversy would forever change the sport of competitive ice skating. The story begins with Russian pair skaters named Yelena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze. It was no surprise the Russian pair was in first place after the short skating program. Russians have dominated the world of figure skating for many years. The team of Berezhnaya and Sikharulidze was as strong as their skating predecessors and they were a favorite to win gold at the 2002 Salt Lake City games. It was a small stumble coming out of a jump sequence that would start the much talked about 2002 Winter Olympic ice skating judging controversy.
Many felt that the small stumble of the Russian pair opened the door for other teams to take over the lead. Most likely to be able to take over first place was the Canadian team of Jamie Sale and David Pelletier. The Canadian team was in second place after the short program. When Sale and Pelletier skated a perfect long program the audience went wild. Announcers from countries all over the world were predicting that the gold medal belonged to the Canadians. USA announcer, Scott Hamilton, shouted “the Gold is theirs” as the team of Jamie Sale and David Pelletier finished their long program. Live broadcasts of comments such as these may have had a small part in leading to the 2002 Winter Olympic ice skating judging controversy.
When the scores for the Canadian figure skaters were revealed they were lower than what most expected. It would confirm that the Russians would take gold and the Canadians would get silver. Boos were heard across the stadium and announcers everywhere were in shock. After the competition ended the International Skating Union (the IUC) questioned the French judge on her decision to award the gold medal to the Russians. She admitted that she was coerced into voting for the Russians in exchange for a vote for the French Ice Dancers. This led to the Olympic committee awarding gold medals to both the Canadian and Russian teams. Thus beginning the 2002 Winter Olympic ice skating controversy.
Since the 2002 Winter Olympic ice skating judging controversy the IUC changed the way that judge’s scores are revealed. It is no longer possible to tell what score a particular judge gave, as it is all done in secret. The IUC hopes that changes like this will stop anything like the 2002 Winter Olympic ice skating controversy from ever happening again.