According to NBC TV company, French arbiter Marie Rene le Gounet who participated in refereeing of figure skaters in the Olympic Games admitted that she had been pressed down on. She is said to be pressed down on while refereeing the Russian couple Yelena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze (at that time, everything was decided by one voice supporting the Russian figure skaters). The statement was made by the French during the traditional referees’ sitting on the results of the competitions. The most interesting thing was that the French referee called French Figure Skating Federation as the pressure’s source, of course if you believe to US mass media that spread this piece of information. There has not been any official investigation yet. Though, it became known that the leadership of International Olympic Committee ordered to International Skater Unit to settle the incident as soon as possible. The French referee’s statement will in any case not influence the medals’ distribution and the results’ review in Salt Lake City. This was officially concerned by International Figure Skating Federation’s president Ottavio Cichvante (or Olympic Games should be carried out without referees at all – there will be too many protests). In the meanwhile, Russian Vice-Premier Valentina Matvienko called the conflict situation around the St Petersburg figure skaters “unworthy bustle,” Rosbalt reports. According to Matvienko, such situations should not belong to Olympic movement. As for the Canadian couple, that entered a protest, Matvienko answered with Russian proverb “One should not shake fists after the fight.” Moreover, not all of Americans call in question the victory of Berezhnaya and Sikharulidze. According to Sport-Express report, for example citizens of North Logan (the city situated at a distance of 140 km from Salt Lake City) fully support Russian figure skaters. For, the Russian couple was training in North Logan skating rink before their appearance in the competition and conquered the citizens’ sympathy. Local citizens are glad to see guests, and not only from Russia: they welcome French, Chinese figure skaters, Swedish hockey players, who put up at North Logan. Though only in the Russian couple’s honour home meals were organized, only their training in the local skating rink was accompanied with big audience. Moreover, now imprint of the gold medal conquered by Yelena and Anton will decorate the skating rink. A good reply, is not it?
Sergei Yugov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/02/14/37081.html