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Old 03-23-2002, 11:51 AM   #1
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the sordid world of ice dancing is exposed again

physical violence? these people are silly. you want to say 'this isn't representative of the sport, or sport in general'but it increasingly seems as if it is. the sporst top ranking stars and the associations backing them all seem to have a hand in this. so what is the point of competition-it's more akin to the WWF(gets ready for angry barrage from sula )

from espn
Lithuania protesting Israel's finish in ice dancing

Associated Press

NAGANO, Japan -- Figure skating officials were forced to deal with yet another judging controversy Saturday.

Lithuanian ice dancer Povilas Vanagas unleashed a scathing criticism of the International Skating Union and its judging system, one day after he and partner Margarita Drobiazko finished fourth in the ice dancing final at the World Figure Skating Championships.

"If I was on the ISU's technical committee, I would quit," Vanagas said. "Everything is being decided by which judges are on the panel and it's just unfortunate that the system kills the competitive nature of the sport."

The Lithuanian Skating Federation filed a protest late Friday when judges awarded Israel's Galit Chait and Sergei Sakhnovski the bronze medal in the ice dance final.

According to Reuters, the Lithuanian team also accused the father of Chait of threatening behavior.

More than 30 skaters and coaches from the ice dancing competition -- including American champions Naomi Lang and Peter Tchernyshev and French coach Muriel Zazoui -- signed a petition in favor of Lithuania's protest.

"When Boris Chait, the father of Galit Chait, heard about this petition he started threatening people saying they should thank God if they reach America alive," Vanagas told Reuters. "He even got physical and tried to start a fight with some coaches who supported us. It seems like he and some of the ISU think they are the Godfather."

In another twist, a German reporter told Reuters that an Israeli skating official had told him in a phone call before the world championships that they would finish on the medals podium.

ISU officials declined to comment on the protest by Lithuania, which also protested the results of the ice dance competition at the Olympics in Salt Lake City. The Lithuanian pair came in fifth but felt they should have been ranked higher, especially since two couples above them fell. Lithuania's Olympic protest was quickly rejected.

Neither Boris Chait nor the Israeli team delegation could be reached by Reuters.

The latest protest comes at a time when the ISU is seeking ways to restore confidence in the sport in the wake of the judging controversy in the pairs skating at the Olympics.

Russians Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze received the gold medal in Salt Lake City. But the IOC later awarded duplicate medals to Canadians Jamie Sale and David Pelletier after French judge Marie-Reine Le Gougne told ISU president Ottavio Cinquanta she had "submitted to a certain pressure" from the French federation to vote for the Russians.

Le Gougne recently defended her vote, saying she was trapped by international officials and the news media into making a false accusation.

Cinquanta said Friday that radical changes would soon be made in how figure skating is judged, saying the existing system is not adequate.

"We have considered it was necessary to evaluate the possibility of a new judging system in figure skating," he said. "This project has been presented already internally to the ISU and is under evaluation."

Cinquanta said the ISU hopes to be able to review the proposal at a meeting in Kyoto, Japan, in June.

Under the new system, skaters would be given points for completing required elements. The current system deducts points from skaters who make mistakes. Cinquanta said he hoped the new system would be in use within two years and could be used on a trial basis next season.

Cinquanta said Saturday that letters are being mailed to ISU members this week with a full explanation of the new scoring system. He urged the ISU members to accept the matter so he can get it on the agenda as a proposal in the congress in Kyoto.

Information from Reuters was used in this report.

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