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IOC President Surprised by Russian Mob Involvement in Skating Scandal - 2002-08-01


International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge says he is appalled by allegations that a Russian organized crime figure conspired to fix the figure skating results at the Salt Lake City Games.

Dr. Rogge said while the IOC knew the judging was not correct, the organization was "totally surprised" by news that Russian Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov allegedly tried to influence the judging of the pairs and ice dancing competition.

U.S. authorities say that Tokhtakhounov used bribery and other means to persuade a French judge to vote for a Russian pair in exchange for a Russian judge's vote for a French couple in the ice dancing.

Dr. Rogge said the IOC wants to obtain the full facts in the case and will work with the International Skating Union, the sport's governing body so the IOC executive board can examine the case. The board is due to meet in Lausanne later this month.

Russian Sports officials called the accusations "a funny fantasy that belonged in a motion picture, not the courts". Russian Olympic Committee spokesman Gennady Shvets said that there was no way that Tokhtakhounov could have done what he is accused of doing.

Russian skater Anton Sikharulidze, one of the skaters involved in the controversy, said it is simply impossible for one person to influence the votes of several judges at the Olympic Games.

Canadian skaters Jamie Sale and David Pelletier, who were awarded duplicate gold medals in the pairs event, said they have moved on and do not want to become involved. Sale and Pelletier said that figure skating needs reform, but no sport is perfect.

Italian skater Barbara Fusar-Poli, who with her partner Maurizio Margaglio won the bronze medal in ice dancing, reacted angrily to the news. She said she hopes if the allegations prove true that the I-O-C has to deal with the fallout.

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