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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 August, 2004, 14:59 GMT 15:59 UK
Khorkina hits out at judges
Russia's Svetlana Khorkina in action
Svetlana Khorkina has claimed judges robbed her of gold in the women's all-round gymnastics competition.

The 25-year-old Russian, three-times all-round world champion, had hoped to round off her career with the Olympic title which had always eluded her.

But she was beaten into second place by America's Carly Patterson.

"I'm just furious. I knew well in advance I was going to lose. Everything was decided in advance," Khorkina told the Russian daily newspaper Izvestia.

"I had no illusions about this when the judges gave me 9.462 for the vault after conferring with one another at length," she added.

"I practically did everything right, still they just set me up and fleeced me."

Asked why she felt she was marked down by the judges, Khorkina said: "You better ask them. I think it's because I'm from Russia, not from America!"

She also took a side-swipe at gold medallist Patterson.

"I've seen a much tougher opposition than her. Let's see how long she can remain on top. Can she keep going and compete in two more Olympics like myself?

"No, well, you better write that Patterson is a great champion and she has a great future," she added sarcastically.

Khorkina, who has confirmed that Athens will be her last Olympics, added that she is keen to remain involved in the sport beyond her competitive days.

"I'd like to work for the International Gymnastics Federation," she said.

"These competitions have shown the sport needs a lot of changes. It should be judged primarily on grace, elegance and beauty rather than simply on mechanic tumbling."

Links to more Gymnastics stories



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