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Saturday, 23 February, 2002, 04:56 GMT

A catalogue of controversy

BBC Sport Online's Alex Gubbay reviews a difficult two weeks for Games officials at the Winter Olympics.


  • 'Skategate

    Countries involved: Russia and Canada

    Reason for row: Canada lodged protest after Jamie Sale and David Pelletier failed to win gold despite widespread consensus they were the best pair.

    International Skating Union investigation revealed French judge Marie Reine Le Gougne had been under pressure to vote for Russian duo Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze.

    Resolution: Canada awarded second gold alongside Russia.

    Recriminations: Le Gougne was suspended, Russia were unhappy at sharing title, and ISU president Ottavio Cinquanta proposed a fundamental judging overhaul in skating.


  • Opening ceremony

    Country involved: USA

    Reason for row: Team USA wanted to fly Ground Zero flag in Parade of Nations at opening ceremony.

    Other countries and International Olympic Committee were worried it would have sent out the wrong message about the Games, making them too jingoistic at the expense of the Olympic spirit.

    Resolution: The flag was brought in right at the beginning instead by firefighters and athletes.

    Recriminations: It still focused attention on possibility of American hyperpatriotism affecting the Games' global image.


  • Short track

    Countries involved: South Korea, USA

    Reason for row: Kim Dong-Sung won 1,500m final, but was immediately disqualified for skating across American Apolo Anton Ohno, who was upgraded to gold.

    Koreans protested vigorously to ISU, but failed to overturn the decision.

    Recriminations: Koreans considered boycott alongside Russians, and plans appeal to Court of Arbitration for Sport. United States Olympic Committee (USOC) received more than 16,000 e-mails in protest, including death threats against Ohno, which FBI is investigating.


  • Figure skating

    Countries involved: Russia, USA, Italy

    Reason for row: Skater Irina Slutskaya duly beats rival Michelle Kwan, but is pipped to gold by teenage American Sarah Hughes.

    Many felt Slutskaya should have been first in the short programme - that would have given her eventual gold.

    The Italian judge's decision to place her fourth overall was also questionable - third or better would again have been enough to give Slutskaya gold.

    The Russian protest fails.


  • Ice Hockey

    Country involved: Russia

    Reason for row: Russian officials felt too many players were sin-binned during their match with the Czechs, and protest even after a 1-0 victory.


  • Cross country

    Country involved: Russia

    Reason for row: Skier Larissa Lazutina forced to withdraw from the women's 4x5km cross country relay because of a high haemoglobin level. Russians blamed this on Lazutina's menstrual cycle.

    Recriminations: Russians incensed by all incidents, feeling again that their athletes were unfairly persecuted.

    National Olympic Committee president Leonid Tyagachev threatens to boycott the rest of the Games and the opening ceremony. Russian president Vladimir Putin also attacks "unfair treatment" of athletes.

    IOC president Jacques Rogge personally investigates all Russian complaints with individual sports federations, and writes to Putin in a bid to calm the crisis.


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