Skate chief: T&D robbed

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The Independent Online
A SENIOR ice dance official at the Winter Olympics yesterday put into words the thoughts of 23 million Britons: Torvill and Dean were robbed.

'They got a medal, but in my opinion it was the wrong colour,' Lawrence Demmy, the British vice-president of the International Skating Union, told the world's press. 'Torvill and Dean should have won because they were the best.'

Mr Demmy, who is expected to become president of the ISU later this year, promised changes in the heavily criticised system of judging. 'Something has got to be done,' he said.

He was speaking five days after the decision to award the ice dancing title to the Russian pair of Oksana Gritschuk and Yevgeny Platov provoked boos and whistles from the audience at the Hamar Amphitheatre; not to mention consternation among the 23 million who watched it on BBC Television, a record domestic audience for a sporting event.

The British official, four times world ice dance champion in the early 1950s, has studied videotapes of the three medallists' free programmes.

He identified two infringements in the British pair's routine, including the lift at the end of their programme, which would in theory have carried a penalty of 0.1 each on the first set of marks for technical merit.

But Mr Demmy also identified infringements by Gritschuk and Platov, who twice separated for more than the statutory time allowed.

'I can only assume that the judges were not precisely aware of the duration of the separations,' Mr Demmy said. 'That does concern me. The penalties should have balanced out, so it came down to personal choice.'

His comments came at a press conference instigated by the International Olympic Committee with the intention of untangling some of the confusion which surrounded ice dance judging.

Mr Demmy would not be drawn on specific details of plans to improve the judging but they could include losing the top and bottom marks of any set, as in gymnastics.

Britain's Nicky Gooch, 21, won a bronze medal in the 500m short-track speed-skating at the Winter Olympics last night.

British bronze age, Sport

Leading article, page 20

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