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Tuesday, 19 February, 2002, 11:09 GMT

Judges dance to the right tune

Olympic gold medallist figure skater Robin Cousins gives his reaction to the Olympic ice dance competition in Salt Lake City.

The free dance ended on a bit of a muted note after both the Italians and the Canadians fell in the last group of skaters.

There was a fairly good run up with the last two groups and expectation was building for the last group, but it all ended on an anti-climax.

Thankfully though the final result did play out with absolutely no indication that of foul play.

I also think the judges have been very much on their toes for the last couple of days.

"Had everyone skated clean, I am sure it would have been a little easier for people to be manipulative"
Robin Cousins

Had everyone skated clean, I am sure it would have been a little easier for people to be manipulative if they wanted to be.

Although there was no change in the final placings at the end of the event, there was variation among the judges between the compulsory, original, and free dance.

It wasn't just first across the board or fifth across the board as we have seen many times in the past - there were big differences.

For example, the Lithuanians finished fifth, but they had a couple of thirds so it was a close competition.

In terms of Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat of France winning the title, there was very little difference between their programme and that of the Russians, Irina Lobacheva and Ilia Averbukh.

But I must admit in all fairness, I preferred the French pair.

The Italians, Barbara Fusar-Poli and Maurizio Margagio, were very lucky to end up with the bronze after he fell midway through the performance.

Even though the Canadians, Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz, fell on their last lift, I was really expecting them to get the marks to put them into third place.

Sometimes it is really hard to know what the judges are looking for.

The International Skating Unions announcement that it is going to overhaul the judging system has been talked about since well before the Games.

But I think it was very smart of ISU President Ottavio Cinquanta to tell people now how radical that move is going to be if and when it happens.

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