Source Pravda.Ru

French referee experienced “word aggression” and even “physical menace”

The scandal around refereeing in the figure skating competition has not calmed down yet, however the Canadian couple was awarded with gold medals as well as the Russian one. Though, what is more interesting, French referee Marie-Reine Le Gougne, who was earlier accused of favouring Berezhnaya and Sikharulidze decided to restore justice. She declared she had been pressed upon in favour of the Canadian couple Salet – Pelletier, while this pressure had started already in 2000, during the championship in Nizza. French sporting newspaper L’Equipe published yesterday in interview with the referee. According to Le Gougne, she experienced “word aggression” and even “physical menace.” The question was about International Skater Federation’s pressure upon her. She, in her turn, did not give in to it and did not concluded any bargains. She made out the grades she herself found to be proper. Just the Russian couple really was the best. (As for the earlier reports of US mass media as if Le Gougne admitted she had favoured the Russians because of French Figure Skating Federation’s pressure upon her, the referee’s words were interpreted not correctly). The statement that at once arouse stir in the Western press was made by the French referee just after the decision was taken about her disqualification. Now she really had nothing to lose. According to Sport Segodnya, the ceremony of the second rewarding (of the Canadian couple) turned out to be a little “crumpled.” For example Chinese sportsmen Sue Sheng and Hunbo Chjao did not appear before the audience, because they refused to participate in this farce, in contrast to Berezhnaya and Sikharulidze. Though, as for the Russian couple, they were in a bit different situation, and they really should keep dignity. (However, as one of PRAVDA.Ru Forum’s participants noticed, the Russian sportsmen looked as American in TV. He probably was right. Olympic champion Alexei Yagudin said in his interview to ITAR-TASS he was glad for the Canadians’ sake, because he had fell sorry for them. Of course, one who lives and works in the US should avoid demonstration demarches…) And as for dignity, Russian sport functionaries did not managed to keep it. As it was noticed, they express their fervour only in Russia, where they are supported by the President. While they demonstrate Olympic calm, and to be more precise – cowardice, where they should defend Russian interests. Let us see: International Skaters Union took a decision to recommend to International Olympic Committee to reward the Canadian couple with gold medals. China’s representative voted against it, while representative of Russia abstained from voting. Sergei Stefanov PRAVDA.Ru Translated by Vera Solovieva

Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/02/18/37220.html