Focus on the sports still going on

I'm really uncomfortable with the attention this pairs skating situation has generated. I don't think it's healthy.

I, like a lot of people, think the Canadians' program was superior in many ways. But this is not a new thing. Many times over the last decade, Elvis Stojko was punished by judges for being too unconvential. The same with Bourne and Kratz, although that might be political too. I'm used to this happening.

What I think is weird is all the attention the Canadian pair was getting in the USA before the event. US papers were saying they were North American's team, they could finally break the stranglehold the Russians have had over the event. This is weird. When was the last time you've ever seen the Americans more interested in Canadian Olympians than their own? Perhaps the Western side was just as intent on having the Russians lose (as opposed to speficically the Canadians win, an important distinction) as the Eastern side was to have the Russians win.

Now we hear the French judge was a puppet for the political masters of skating. This is disgusting, but it's not new. That doesn't justify it, but it's never been this big before, even when it was a Western athlete being "robbed".

I also think it's weird the Canadian pair is doing all these interviews. It's very un-Canadian-ish to be making a spectacle (sideshow) of themselves in this kind of controversy. It's just not done. David Pelletier said on CBC he was a little uncomfortable with the interviews because he didn't want to sound like a whiner, but that talking was theraputic. (I think the skaters are now puppets in the battle to clean up skating. I pity them.)

I think the investigation should go forward of course, but I don't think it should be in the spotlight... let the ISU do their assessment, let the Canadians do their indepenent investigation, but let's not make this an OJ or a JonBenet. Gawd. Keep it quiet. There are still hundreds if not thousands of athletes competing fairly in Salt Lake who deserve our focus and spirit more than Sale and Pelletier's right now.

It's already been said enough, by everyone involved in the sport and the public and media, that the judges were _wrong_. (Were they? I have my opinion but I'm not a judge. I don't know the official rules, but I keep on being reminded by skating legends on TV that the Canadian pair should have won) I don't see how the situation can be improved by harping on it. I think it just makes the Canadian skaters look like sore losers. And I doubt the skaters actually wanted to make such a stink about it, but the media and the skating federations have picked up the ball (with the skaters chained to it) and started running with it.

It's an embarassing situation, from every angle. And I'm embarassed. Canadian athletes aren't sore losers.

Written on February 14, 2002