JACK KELLY, the president of the Goodwill Games, became embroiled in an angry war of words with Russian officials in St Petersburg yesterday as the winter sports programme degenerated from farce to fiasco. The recurring problem of thin, soft ice forced organisers to postpone the start of the figure-skating competition by 24 hours with a decision on the final venue not due until this morning.
Tuesday's short-track speed skating competition was first postponed then switched from the Yubileiny sports complex to the Sports Army Club Palace and the latter venue is favoured to stage the figure skating. However, the Army Club rink can accommodate only 3,000 spectators compared with 7,000 at Yubileiny.
'But with all the problems of the Army Club we have been operating all day as if we are going to make the change,' Kelly said, confirming the Yubileiny rink is unlikely to be ready.
Yesterday morning, Kelly criticised Russian organisers for the first time in the 16-day Games. 'The specialists appear to not be specialists,' Kelly said.
At the Lenin Sport and Concert Complex, Alexei Nemov led Russia to a clean sweep of the men's all-round gymnastic event after his Ukrainian rival, Grigory Misyutin, fell off the parallel bars half-way through the fourth discipline. Nemov won with 57.875pts, ahead of his team-mate, Alexei Voropayev, who took second place with 56.775 while Yevgeny Shabayev finished third with 56.525.
(Photograph omitted)Reuse content