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  Wednesday, 27 November, 2002, 17:28 GMT
Winter Olympics
Canadians Jamie Sale and David Pelletier were finally awarded gold
Jamie Sale and David Pelletier eventually won gold
Salt Lake City chilled, thrilled and spilled its way into the headlines at an incident-packed Winter Olympics.

Drug scandals vied with 'Skategate' as controversy shadowed the event, while Britain embraced a new phenomenon - curling.

Ice skating was rocked when Canadians Jamie Sale and David Pelletier were judged to have finished second in the pairs behind Russia's Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze.

Skategate was born when it emerged a French judge was pressured into voting for the Russians.

After intense lobbying, Olympic officials eventually awarded Sale and Pelletier a duplicate set of gold medals.

A special medal ceremony with the two teams was held days after the competition, with the Russians keeping their golds.

But the Russian team remained unhappy, and at one stage threatened a walk-out, citing unfair treatment.

Meanwhile, a doping cloud hung heavy over the Olympics, with several medal winners testing positive.

Team GB, celebrating their best performance for 66 years, suffered as surprise skiing bronze medallist Alain Baxter failed a drugs test.

Baxter was stripped of Britain's first ski medal when a tiny amount of banned substance methamphetamine was found in his urine sample.

The offence was blamed on the skier using an American version of a Vicks nasal inhaler.

Baxter lost an appeal, but the panel ruled he was a "sincere and honest man".

Earlier, British fans were gripped by curling fever as an all-Scottish women's team claimed gold in the sport, nicknamed 'bowls on ice'.

Millions of television viewers watched skip Rhona Martin, a housewife and mother-of-two, clinch the win.

Her nail-biting last stone secured the final victory over Switzerland and helped lift curling out of obscurity in the UK.

It was Britain's first winter gold since figure skaters Torvill and Dean in 1984.

Alex Coomber earned Team GB's opening medal of the Games, a bronze, in the women's skeleton event.

And in the men's version, American Jim Shea Jr - part of a family boasting three generations of Olympians - scored an emotional success.

He dedicated victory to his grandfather, a former gold medal-winning speed skater, who died shortly before the Salt Lake City Games.

Shea's success helped lift the USA to third in the final medals table, although the hosts could not stop Canada winning their first men's ice hockey gold for 50 years.

Germany's 12-gold haul topped the lot, ahead of Norway whose biathlete Ole Einar Bjoerndalen celebrated four victories.

Australia won their first winter title through short track skater Steven Bradbury, who survived a mass tumble on the final turn.

And with his win came some welcome honesty. "I wasn't as strong as the other guys, but I am going to take it," said Bradbury.

Golden curls
Winning women speak to BBC Sport
British skier Alain Baxter
"Some positives have come out of this"
Skeleton star Alex Coomber
"It's great people are taking an interest"
In-depth look back at a wonderful year of sport

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Sport in mourning

Funny Old Year

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See also:

24 Feb 02 | Skating
25 Feb 02 | Features
18 Oct 02 | Alpine Skiing
26 Feb 02 | Curling
21 Feb 02 | Luge and Skeleton
24 Feb 02 | Photo Galleries
17 Feb 02 | Skating
24 Feb 02 | Bobsleigh
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