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  Sunday, February 17, 2002

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Tomorrow the Figure Skating Goes Under the Microscope

At least I'm not ranting to myself! Thanks to Ken Keller who took the time to respond to my Editorial Blogrant of yesterday. 

Ken said, "As I re-read this, I feel very cynical. Is that appropriate?"

Ken-- you're fine! It's okay to be cynical. Between us, (and the rest of you lurkers,) I'm less idealist and more cynical than you would believe. When it comes to my opinions about skating, it's based on years of putting up with the political crap that goes on within the sport, so my rant yesterday was mild. Too bad my old skating partner isn't blogging himself or you would get an eyeful.

(May be I should get him online to do a "He Said She Said" Blogrant. hmmm?)

I hold a considerable amount of venom for the current ISU President and previous guard of the IOC.  Times have changed at the IOC, since the scandal with SLC and the IOC. After watching the war that went on within the IOC to clean up itselfand knowing some of the people personally, I'm happy to see people like Dr. Jack Rogge and Dick Pound in positions of power. Rogge and Pound are men of ethics and honor. They well are well-grounded, and far more realistic and worldly than previous IOC leadership who manipulated and were manipulating like Brundage and Samaranch.

As a member of the World Class Athletics community I have taken my stand and informed the IOC/ISU of my opinion, through a petition that has been circulated through our group and has been given to the IOC and ISU last week. I know for a fact that Dick Pound, (IOC Member,) has taken a strong position about Figure Skating and has gone on record demanding the ISU to clean up its act or cancel the Ice Dance Competition as an Olympic Event. In reality this year, the Ice Dancing is on Probation because of judging problems in Nagano. However with Cinquanta behavior and possible involvement in this past weeks scandal, the involvement of other national federations, the ISU knows it must "fish or cut bait."  There are just too many people within the sport (and the media) who aren't going to let it slide.

 Mme. Le Gougne is being checked right now for the breadth of her shoulders. I suspect that while they will not be strong enough to support all of the problems facing skating, they will indeed be broad enough to accept the entire mess.

Yes, you bet! Marie Le Gougne has taken the first major hit. And it was justified. But I highly doubt she is going to be the only one to fall, despite what Speedy Cinquanta has tried to sell during the press conference on Friday. The masses within the sport aren't going to let it slide, and they are fast making allies within the IOC, who has the ability to force the issue, and the media, who can cripple the public's view of the sport. The words "revolutionary and broad sweeping changes," are the type of rhetoric I am hearing within the sport. So this isn't going to be allowed to be swept under the rug.

There is far too much at stake.

What is at stake is a complete sport of Figure Skating, and all the business that surround it.  This includes everyone and everything from the skaters and their endorsements, to equipment makers, and the ice shows with broadcasting contracts, and a lot of businesses in-between: they can and will suffer countless losses (in money and prestige,) if the problems associated with the scandal are not exorcised. Lancing the boil isn't going to cut it this time. This time the problems must be surgically removed once and for all.  

Ken asked me..

What investigation? The foxes determining why there are no chickens left?

Many organizations punish people who speak out against them. They push such people to the fringes and exclude them from the fruits of their industry.

The heat and light being cast down upon skating is the only thing that allows people to speak freely.

Well let me get step up and give you an insider's opinion based on information I have from inside SLC. There is enough staying power on this scandal to see the problems get resolved. Shit has hit the fan inside the skating world and it's sticking all over the ISU.  Skaters and the public, like elephants, have real long memories, and the pressure is just beginning to turn up the heat. For the first time the heat is coming from all sides, including national skating associations, former skaters, sponsors, coaches and professional skaters, parents, rink operators, the public, the media and the IOC. 

While Speedy Cinquanta and some other officials may think they can snow the ISU Executive Committee, Speedy forgets that snow melts when the temperature heats up. Monday's Executive Committee Meeting has been described as "An Orientation to Hell" which will be delivered by the IOC. The rest of the folks at the ISU aren't stupid. They know to preserve the sport, they must clean house from the top down. Expect Speedy to be leaving his position with the ISU RSN (real soon now.)

Many organizations punish people who speak out against them. They push such people to the fringes and exclude them from the fruits of their industry.

The heat and light being cast down upon skating is the only thing that allows people to speak freely.

Use this as a test of any reforms which may come of this… do people not beholden to those running things have the ability to see and comment freely?

There have been a number of us inside and outside the sport who have complained about the biased judging. We have been threated, black-listed and uninvited to events for our opinions that haven't "placed the sport in the proper light" within the eyes of the ISU. Many of us have left the sport, but still serve as the silent watchdogs, and act as sources to the media and private consultants.

Ken you are correct-- The reason many of us, (I too,) are going public about the judging problems-- is because we know major changes in judging must be made NOW.  There are no options. Yes, it is the strike while the iron is hot theory. The light of the Olympics, and the validation of the IOC and the media has made a chorus of us (old-timers) come out and say...  "Ya damn right there is a big problem with the judging of Figure Skating that needs to be resolved once and for all." We, who go public, risk being attacked (again.) But for those of us willing to speak up this time-- it's worth the risk. You see, from where many of us sit, it's the love of the sport of Figure Skating purely and simply. And all the internal reasons why we love it, which is something I can't explain in words, and I can't transfer the feeling to you. So try to take me at my word on that.

Monday is going to be an interesting day. 

BTW-- Did anyone videotape the entire IOC ISU press conference on Friday, where they announced the co-gold medals?  I need to get an audio copy of that entire conference. Email me by clicking the little yellow envelope in the left column. Thanks!


11:23:22 PM    

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