According to what Marina Sanaya, the Russian member of the panel of the Salt Lake Figure Skating judges, said today at a press conference, Ronald Fanning, the American Head Judge, pressured his colleagues. Quoting her, 'What Mr. Fanning did strongly betrayed his origin from the country where the Olympics were held'. She added that the atmosphere at the games was very oppressive and 'unless very psychologically strong, judges could hardly withstand such pressure'.
She said that, during the first meeting of the panel, Ronald Fanning instructed judges to refrain from rating the pair under number 3, that is, Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze, higher than 5.8 so as 'not to block the way for the others'. He specifically addressed the judges from Russia, China, and Canada advising them to exercise care when rating their national teams lest they were accused of being nationally biased. 'So when Mr, Fanning "did not notice" that time count was stopped when the Canadians fell doing their short programme', she continued, 'I said nothing'.
Mrs. Sanaya further explained that the longest a short programme could last was 2 minutes and 40 seconds. After that, 0.1 of a point was taken away for each additional 10 seconds. She said, by her stop-watch, the Canadian pair had completed their short programme in 2 minutes and 53 seconds and 'by every right, could not come up better than fourth. Yet the American judge must have been not too good adhering to rules'.
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