Netflix “Bad Sport” documentary series (featuring SLC Pairs)

Karen-W

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I am still kind of confused by the motive behind the vote trading in the Pairs and Ice Dance event.

The pairs event was up for grabs, with the Canadians coming in as World Champions (though they did win the title at home) and the Russians winning two years before. They truly did have contrasting styles.

But did people feel that Dance gold would go to anyone but the French? Their free dance in 2002 didn't have the impact or emotion as previous skates? Were Lobacheva/Averbuch real rivals over the years?

Was this all about gangsters and gambling or national pride or what?
I believe the thought process/theory was that Didier G wanted to guarantee French gold in ice dance, so he was willing to trade support... "our pairs judge will support B/S if Russia throws its support in dance behind A/P." Plus, there were supposed links between Marina Anissina's mother and the Russian mafia guy who was linked by the FBI. Details are a bit hazy, 20 years later, and I'm too lazy to go look it all up. Anyone with a better memory feel free to chime in.
 

Karen-W

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9,368
If we’re thinking of the same competition, I think it was the Euros 97 men’s free skate. Ordinal were all over the place - IIRC, I think Andrejs Vlaschenko had marks from 1st to 7th with everything in between) and Urmanov went from 5th in the short to win overall, unheard of at the time. I used to be pretty good at working out the ordinals and seeing the patterns to figure out who was where and why but that one was beyond me. And most of us, I think!

Edited because I remember SkateWeb having a very detailed article about it at the time, and I went and looked it up and it's here - http://www.frogsonice.com/skateweb/obo/score-tech.shtml
Yes, it was 97 Euros. My memory thought it was that but I wasn't positive and a quick web search didn't give me an answer. That was definitely one wacky competition as far as the ordinals went and Cinquanta was really annoyed about it.
 

Judy

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We heard nothing from the perspective of those who felt the Russians should have won beside Berezhnaya and Moskvina. Don’t know how you can say we heard both perspectives.
Well we have different perspectives. Personally I always wanted to hear from the rest of the judges in that room that day. They were all there. Did any of them ever speak out? If not their silence then and now speaks volumes. If they did perhaps in their own countries I would love to hear it. However, regardless of who your favorite was or is .. a judge admitted to fixing their vote. We can argue back and forth who should have won but a judge admitted it. In the room full of every judge in that competition.
 

Judy

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I am still kind of confused by the motive behind the vote trading in the Pairs and Ice Dance event.

The pairs event was up for grabs, with the Canadians coming in as World Champions (though they did win the title at home) and the Russians winning two years before. They truly did have contrasting styles.

But did people feel that Dance gold would go to anyone but the French? Their free dance in 2002 didn't have the impact or emotion as previous skates? Were Lobacheva/Averbuch real rivals over the years?

Was this all about gangsters and gambling or national pride or what?
I always felt the same way and I also don't doubt that there were blocs on both sides. Gambling I guess likely played a part and there was evidence of that but I think it still would have happened regardless. Maybe it was just habit for judges to do it. Unless you are best friends with Didier or anyone close to any of the players ... or anyone high enough in figure skating ... we just don't know.

France has great skaters but I am glad Didier is gone.
 

Andrea82

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134
Well we have different perspectives. Personally I always wanted to hear from the rest of the judges in that room that day. They were all there. Did any of them ever speak out? If not their silence then and now speaks volumes. If they did perhaps in their own countries I would love to hear it.

There were some short interviews to Polish press by Anna Sierocka (the Polish judge who is still active these days as judge and Pairs technical controller).

One of them: https://www.sport.pl/zimowe/7,64996,957803.html

By machine translations, she says that she still was convinced the Russians were better. However, she can understand why some other judges thought the Canadians were better.
She was heard by an ISU Commission about the scandal. She prepared a lot for that interview. However the only things they asked her were in relation to the French judge.
She thought the French judge was very relaxed during the event. She joked to her that it was because you don't have any pair competing.
She says the Chinese judge didn't speak English well and fell ill after the event because all the accusations (he was supposed to judge Men event but was replaced).
She doesn't have furs, diamonds and expensive cars. So the Russian mafia didn't obviously contact her.
 
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Andrea82

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134
After the SLC pairs scandal, on top of the 1999 Worlds pairs toe-tapping scandal, as well as the years and years of kvetching about ice dance judging being completely reputation based rather than assessing what the skaters were actually delivering on the ice, Speedy had all the ammunition he needed at the next ISU Congress to ram his new scoring system through. So, in that regard, SLC was the straw that broke the camel's back and ushered in COP/IJS.

2002 also had the Ice Dance drama related to the Bronze medal to Chait/Sakhnovski over Drobiazko /Vanagas at Nagano Worlds.
 

allezfred

Lipinski Stole My Catchphrase
Staff member
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59,843
Well we have different perspectives. Personally I always wanted to hear from the rest of the judges in that room that day. They were all there. Did any of them ever speak out? If not their silence then and now speaks volumes. If they did perhaps in their own countries I would love to hear it. However, regardless of who your favorite was or is .. a judge admitted to fixing their vote. We can argue back and forth who should have won but a judge admitted it. In the room full of every judge in that competition.
I read a quote in a Japanese magazine from Hideo Sugita the Japanese judge and he said while he voted for the Canadians there was an argument for it either way and he wasn't impressed by the Canadians complaining their way to gold. Cannot find an online source unfortunately.
 

Braulio

Tuning up my Body of Work
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17,688
But even with the fall at the end? I remember the debates of whether it finished after the music and all of that, but B/S were clear winners of the SP for me either way, and Jalousie wasn't bad. Just Lady Caliph was perfection.

Lady Caliph should be in the top as one of the best Pairs Short Program Ever

Such a shame that back in the days the short programs were almost never broadcasted in the US, Canada tv broadcast
 

Coco

Rotating while Russian!
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16,593
I swear I remember reading an interview / article, or maybe it was a post here, in the November (?) 2001 about the Russians plan to get L/A the ice dance gold. It seemed crazy at the time, but involved holding them out of a lot of competitions, stating they weren't at 100% when they did compete and seeing to it that the Canadians, the Italians and the Lithuanians were knocked back throughout the season.

In the end, they got obscenely close to the gold medal in the free skate, if memory serves. It was a 5/4 split.

So I couldn't help but notice that the French judge's actions after the pairs event a) tarnished the Russian's pairs gold and b) brought scrutiny to the ice dance event. Who knows how that 5/4 split would have gone if all eyes weren't on the judges?
 

allezfred

Lipinski Stole My Catchphrase
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I am still kind of confused by the motive behind the vote trading in the Pairs and Ice Dance event.

The pairs event was up for grabs, with the Canadians coming in as World Champions (though they did win the title at home) and the Russians winning two years before. They truly did have contrasting styles.

But did people feel that Dance gold would go to anyone but the French? Their free dance in 2002 didn't have the impact or emotion as previous skates? Were Lobacheva/Averbuch real rivals over the years?

Was this all about gangsters and gambling or national pride or what?
It was a weird Olympic cycle. It was supposed to be Krylova/Ovsiannikov v Anissina/Peizerat and then Krylova got injured and retired after winning their second World title in 1999. Then it was Anissina/Peizerat v Fusar-Poli/Margaglio with the French winning the World title in 2000 and the Italians winning in 2001 with Lobacheva/Averbukh third or fourth at best. As late as 2002 Euros, it was Anissina/Peizerat, Fusar-Poli/Margaglio and Lobacheva/Averbukh in that order. Then all of a sudden in Salt Lake, Lobacheva/Averbukh were second in each segment and only lost gold on a 5/4 split in the free dance. If there was a deal, it was a very bad one.

Anissina and Averbukh were Junior World champions together before splitting in the early 1990s.
 

Andrea82

Well-Known Member
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134
In the end, they got obscenely close to the gold medal in the free skate, if memory serves. It was a 5/4 split.

Yes.
For A/P: Gasiorowska (Lithuania), Nechkina (Azerbajan), Karnolska (Bulgaria), Balkov (Ukraine), Gordon-Poltorak (Poland)
For L/A: Shekhovtseva(Russia), Wehinger (Switzerland), Wolter (Germany), Zuccaro (Italy)
 

Judy

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2002 also had the Ice Dance drama related to the Bronze medal to Chait/Sakhnovski over Drobiazko /Vanagas at Nagano Worlds.
Yes I remember that too.
I read a quote in a Japanese magazine from Hideo Sugita the Japanese judge and he said while he voted for the Canadians there was an argument for it either way and he wasn't impressed by the Canadians complaining their way to gold. Cannot find an online source unfortunately.
except for the French judge telling the entire room she was forced and made a mistake. That is impossible to dispute. If it was just one judge .. but everyone was in the room.
 

thvu

Usova's Apprentice
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5,484
Yes I remember that too.

except for the French judge telling the entire room she was forced and made a mistake. That is impossible to dispute. If it was just one judge .. but everyone was in the room.
What did she say exactly? You seem to be speaking matter of factly on the matter.
 

Judy

Well-Known Member
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3,227
I swear I remember reading an interview / article, or maybe it was a post here, in the November (?) 2001 about the Russians plan to get L/A the ice dance gold. It seemed crazy at the time, but involved holding them out of a lot of competitions, stating they weren't at 100% when they did compete and seeing to it that the Canadians, the Italians and the Lithuanians were knocked back throughout the season.

In the end, they got obscenely close to the gold medal in the free skate, if memory serves. It was a 5/4 split.

So I couldn't help but notice that the French judge's actions after the pairs event a) tarnished the Russian's pairs gold and b) brought scrutiny to the ice dance event. Who knows how that 5/4 split would have gone if all eyes weren't on the judges?
Yes there is no doubt that the dance result could have been very different in the ice dance if the pairs judging fiasco hadn't happened.
 

allezfred

Lipinski Stole My Catchphrase
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except for the French judge telling the entire room she was forced and made a mistake. That is impossible to dispute. If it was just one judge .. but everyone was in the room.
I am not disputing what the French judge did. Leaving her out, the panel was divided 4-4. In the documentary, we heard from the Canadian judge, but the producers of the documentary for whatever reason did not have an interview with any of the other four judges who went with Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze and their reasons for doing so which they would have explained at the same post-event judges meeting that Le Gougne attended.

And in actual fact, Benoit Lavoie bears some responsibility for Le Gougne being on the judging panel at all. He had a conversation at Skate Canada with Le Gougne back in autumn 2001 that she was being pressured by another judge to vote for Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze and he never reported it which as a judge he is mandated to do.
 

Judy

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I am not disputing what the French judge did. Leaving her out, the panel was divided 4-4. In the documentary, we heard from the Canadian judge, but the producers of the documentary for whatever reason did not have an interview with any of the other four judges who went with Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze and their reasons for doing so which they would have explained at the same post-event judges meeting that Le Gougne attended.

And in actual fact, Benoit Lavoie bears some responsibility for Le Gougne being on the judging panel at all. He had a conversation at Skate Canada with Le Gougne back in autumn 2001 that she was being pressured by another judge to vote for Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze and he never reported it which as a judge he is mandated to do.
I am not sure what interviewing the other judges for the documentary would have resolved and they could have been asked and declined. Who knows. They never came out and said well the French judge never said that. As soon as any judge admits to cheating obviously hell is going to break out especially at the Olympics.
 

allezfred

Lipinski Stole My Catchphrase
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I am not sure what interviewing the other judges for the documentary would have resolved and they could have been asked and declined. Who knows. They never came out and said well the French judge never said that. As soon as any judge admits to cheating obviously hell is going to break out especially at the Olympics.
What Le Gougne said is not in dispute. What we did not hear in the documentary is why the other four judges on the panel voted for Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze over Sale/Pelletier.
 

Andrea82

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What did she say exactly? You seem to be speaking matter of factly on the matter.

At the round-table discussion after the free event, she broke down and told she was pressured by "Didier" to vote in that way.
Then she changed her version 100 times. At one point she said she was pressured by Skate Canada, that Sally Stapleford suggested her to say she had been pressured to vote for B/S, etc.
Last time I heard her (4-5 years ago on a French TV talk show) she was claiming that the referee Pfenning at the round table discussion read a letter accusing the 5 judges who voted for B/S to be dishonest and she lost her mind at that point. Guests in that talk show were laughing at her while she was telling and re-telling her many versions.
 

Judy

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What Le Gougne said is not in dispute. What we did not hear in the documentary is why the other four judges on the panel voted for Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze over Sale/Pelletier.
But one judge admits to cheating. The other judges didn't admit to cheating. The issue isn't what the other judges thought of B&S and S&P. I'm not really following you on what you're driving at though.

The bottom line is that if the French judge hadn't had some type of meltdown the meeting would have commenced and ended and the Russians would have been the sole winners.
 

hanca

Values her privacy
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To me it proved that whoever shouts loudest can change the outcome of the Olympics. All they need is biased media having a huge tantrum and things get done… very educational. If you don’t like the grade at school, have tantrum…
 

Lemonade20

If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.
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To me it proved that whoever shouts loudest can change the outcome of the Olympics. All they need is biased media having a huge tantrum and things get done… very educational. If you don’t like the grade at school, have tantrum…
Not necessarily. I seem to remember a certain silver medalist who claimed he has a platinum medal 😂
 

skategal

Bunny mama
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What Le Gougne said is not in dispute. What we did not hear in the documentary is why the other four judges on the panel voted for Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze over Sale/Pelletier.
IIRC, there were a few comments in the documentary saying it was very close and arguments could be made for either side though.

Even the commentator of the Olympic coverage (Sandra Bezic I think) is heard saying “this is the most difficult program” after B/S skated.
 

Cachoo

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90% of the audience at the Olympics are non- skating fans and they are extremely ignorant about the sport. But hey let’s do away with the judging panel and install a clapometer instead! :p

I loathed the awarding of the second gold medal at the time, but in hindsight it was probably the best solution just to make the whole thing go away. However what really irked me at the time and still does today is that if Benoit Lavoie is right and it was clear Sale/Pelletier won on the night then surely isn’t he saying that not only the French judge was corrupt, but also the judges from the other four countries who put Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze first?
I remember thinking about that too: We learned more later but initially I wondered if the French judge was blamed because she dared to vote outside the old East/West bloc.
 

kwanfan1818

RIP D-10
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if Benoit Lavoie is right and it was clear Sale/Pelletier won on the night then surely isn’t he saying that not only the French judge was corrupt, but also the judges from the other four countries who put Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze first?
Because he and a Swiss judge or official heard her say at a Fall 2001 competition that she was voting with her friend, Sanaia? According to "The Second Mark," when he sat down to write this after SLC out of the goodness of his heart and conscience, but according the PJ Kwong's book, it was because the Swiss judge/official said she was going to, and, with Skate Canada's lawyers looking over his shoulders, he wrote his statement. ETA: Kwong's book also told how after they won silver, they went back to Canada House (or whatever it was called), and they got so much support from the other athletes, that they were convinced to embrace the silver, at least until the reports of actual cheating were raised. That is the genesis of her saying she was sad she had to give back the silver.

He presumably didn't overhear, at least in front of another witness, any of the other four judges saying the same thing.

The judge claimed she didn't vote the way she was pressured. 🤷‍♀️ However, I do think when there is an allegation of cheating, a second Gold makes sense.
First, she said she'd been pressured when confronted by Stapleford at the elevator after the event, and she crumbled and asked for sympathy for her between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place-situation rather than standing behind her vote, and then she said the same thing at the judges' conference. It was only after Gailhauguet cornered her that she changed the story to say she voted her conscience.

She was so close to being accepted by Stapleford and the other big wigs for a recommendation to one of the committees -- IIRC, the Technical Committee -- which would have meant she would finally be out from under Gailhauguet's influence, and then it all crumbled for her. If she had taken an earlier or later elevator, put up a Do Not Disturb sign on her door, and not answered any knocking, she would have missed that confrontation. No meltdown and no confession = no dual gold medals, no matter how much suspicion or wuzrobbing.

If you listened to the CBC commentary by Bezic in 1998 about Bourne and Kraatz being robbed, she was more than ready to explode on the much bigger US TV stage in 2002.
 

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