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Thursday, 21 February, 2002, 22:12 GMT
Rogge acts to calm Russian storm
Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), says he is hopeful that Russia will not carry out their threat to withdraw from the remainder of the Winter Olympics.
Russian officials said on Thursday that they may withdraw their athletes from the Games in protest over what they called "unfair judging".
However, reacting to the Russian claims, Rogge said: "I hope that everything will come in order.
"I hope that emotions will calm down and that common sense in the interests of the athletes will prevail.
"I had a good and fruitful discussion with them. I hope that that will reassure them."
Rogge has also written to Russian President Vladimir Putin in an attempt to head off the furore.
It now remains to be seen whether Rogge's words and actions are enough to put the threat to bed for good.
Rogge was moved to act when Leonid Tygachev, president of the Russian Olympic Committee, gave him 24 hours to resolve the "non-objective" decisions by judges and officials in figure skating, ice hockey and cross-country.
It seems the final straw for Russia, already angered by the figure skating furore last week, came when cross country skier Larissa Lazutina was disqualified before Thursday's 4x5km women's relay.
The five-time Olympic gold medallist was part of a Russian team who were red hot favourites to win the event having done so on four occasions in the past.
Lazutina was disqualified along with two other athletes when a blood test revealed "abnormalities".
The Russians immediately launched a protest claiming the news of the disqualification was delivered too late for them to name a replacement for the race which was eventually won by Germany.
Hours later came the news that Russia were now considering quitting the Games altogether.
Tygachev said China, Ukraine and South Korea had also been "humiliated" by what he called unfair judging.
He had earlier told Russian television: "These are the dirtiest Games in history.
"The organisers and IOC officials are acting in the favour of North American showbusiness against the basic principles of the Olympic movement."
The other controversies that have upset the Russians included the awarding of duplicate gold to Canada's figure skating pair last week.
Russia won the final, but Canada were awarded joint gold days later when they appealed against the legitimacy of the original judging.
Russian officials also said they believed officials had deliberately tried to make Russia lose Wednesday's ice hockey quarter-final against world champions the Czech Republic.
The Russians won that game 1-0.
Rogge said he had spoken to the international federations for all three of the sports objected to by the Russians and that all had assured him they had taken measures to provide fair and independent judging.
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