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Monday, 18 February, 2002, 04:10 GMT

Gold at last for Canadians

By BBC Sport Online's Alex Gubbay in Salt Lake City

Jamie Sale and David Pelletier finally received their gold medals in an emotional ceremony after Sunday's original dance competition at the Salt Lake Ice Center.

Their silver from the pairs skating final was upgraded to a second gold on Friday after an investigation revealed French judge Marie Reine Le Gougne had succumbed to pressure to vote for the Russian pair instead.

The initial champions, Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze, stood next to the Canadian pair on the podium as they were awarded the extra gold.

"I think the four of us were part of history and that was something"
Canada's David Pelletier

Both national anthems were played in a ceremony conducted by International Skating Union president Ottavio Cinquanta.

All four skaters chatted amicably behind the scenes beforehand, and Sale and Berezhnaya made a point of holding hands as they walked into the arena.

Receiving their medals, they proudly sang their anthems as the flags were simultaneously raised and then posed as one for photos and the delighted crowd.

"This was better than I expected," Pelletier enthused. "I think the four of us were part of history and that was something."

Sale had earlier said of getting their gold: "Everybody knows what we deserved - we are taking that home with us, and that is all that matters.

"I hope it will make the rest of Canada happy and that all the fans who have given us such tremendous support were watching."

Games organisers clearly hope Sunday's ceremony will be the final act in the sorry saga now known as 'Skategate'.

But such welcome closure is unlikely - Pelletier himself admitted he wasn't "na´ve enough to assume that would happen straight away."

"Case solved for us, case not solved for skating," was his initial reaction on Friday to the news he and Sale would finally be awarded gold.

French judge Le Gougne has already been suspended indefinitely, and the whole system of subjective judging is likely to face a fundamental overhaul in the weeks and months ahead.


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