Anger Builds in Canada Over Olympic Judging

A day of reflection did nothing to dull national anger over disputed Olympic judging that gave the pairs gold medal to Russian skaters and left Canadians Jamie Sale and David Pelletier with the silver.

Sale's mother, Patti Siegel, got choked up at a news conference while expressing appreciation for the worldwide support for her daughter and Pelletier.

"That's what makes me cry, not just the result but the reaction of the world to it," she said in Edmonton. Siegel refused to get into allegations about the judges, and when pressed, responded: "It doesn't anger me and I don't want to dwell on it. It's done."

But others weren't so sure.

Eric Morse, the former editor of the Canadian Olympic newsletter, called for Canada to seriously consider boycotting future international figure skating event until the judging system is changed. The focus on the issue now provides an opportunity for reform, he said.

"Strike while the iron is hot," Morse said.

Expressions of protest appeared everywhere: in newspaper headlines, on radio and television, and even at a rock concert.

"Scandal on Ice," proclaimed the Winnipeg Free Press.

The story topped the front page of both national daily newspapers Wednesday and dominated coverage. All agreed that Sale and Pelletier skated a flawless performance that deserved to win, and that the judging was either inept, corrupt or both.

They also praised the Canadians for displaying dignity by expressing pleasure in having done their best, no matter the result.

Still, the anger was evident.

"In the eyes of the vast majority of observers, including those who have been around the sport of skating for many years, Sale and Pelletier were hosed Monday,'' wrote Dave Stubbs in the Montreal Gazette newspaper.

At the sold-out Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young concert Tuesday night at Toronto's Air Canada Center, Stephen Stills got a big cheer when he held up a handmade sign that said: "Jamie and David, you wuz robbed."

"Stephen's right, you guys did get robbed last night, and everybody knows it," David Crosby told the crowd.

Not everyone agreed. Margo McLeod of the Toronto area, in a letter published Wednesday in The Toronto Star, argued the winning Russian pair of Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze were better than Sale and Pelletier.

"Just because you skated your personal best doesn't mean you were the best of all competitors," McLeod wrote. "I'm no Olympic judge, but I have watched figure skating for 25 years and from my amateur eye, I saw the following in the Russian pair that won gold: more intricate choreography, more passion, very close skating and very difficult lifts, all performed with ease."