Russia's figure skating federation yesterday rejected allegations about improper judging at the Salt Lake City Olympics in the scandal that led to the awarding of duplicate gold medals. The International Skating Union has suspended the two central figures in the dispute, French judge Marie-Reine Le Gougne and French federation head Didier Gailhaguet, for three years and also banned them from the next Winter Games in 2006.
The two were found guilty of colluding to fix the outcome of the event in favour of the Russian pair Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze ahead of the Canadians Jamie Sale and David Pelletier. But the Russian federation said the resolution against the two officials triggered rumours of an alleged deal between it and the French federation.
"The Russian Federation of Figure Skating resolutely turns down such allegations," the group said in a statement. "We are confident that the Russian pair deserved the top award in the pairs event."
The Russian federation also criticised the awarding of duplicate golds.
It accused the ISU of deciding to disqualify the two officials "in order to justify a hastily made decision to award a second Olympic gold medal, which was the result of the pressure put by the mass media and other interested organisations and private figures both from outside and inside the ISU."
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