CNN BREAKING NEWS
IOC Awards Gold Medals to Canadian Pairs Skaters
Aired February 15, 2002 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: What a week it's been in Salt Lake. We're going to take you back there now with Rusty Dornin, as we anticipate this briefing to begin really any moment right now. This is the International Olympic Committee, Rusty, along with the Skating Union itself, you have to wonder what the conversation between these two groups has been behind closed doors throughout the entire weeks, but what we're hearing, and go ahead and jump on top of this as well, is that there will be another gold medal awarded, this to the Canadian pair, Rusty.
RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, the Russians may have to share the gold in this case, because Reuters is reporting that right now.
But the indications are that the IOC has been really pressuring the International Skating Union to take care of this problem. Now what might happen in this case is they would throw out the French judge's marks, and they would put in the Czechoslovakia judge, who was the alternate, and her marks would have put the Canadians in the gold. So that might be the way they would take care of that.
It appears also that the Olympic Committee does has some extra gold medals on hand, and it would be likely there would be some kind of other ceremony that would honor the Canadians for their gold medal. We'll just have to wait and see what happens. The press conference is about to get under way with Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee, and the president of the International Skating Union. We did get some photos, see some photos last night of the two whispering among themselves at the men's pair skating. So it looks like the pressure has been applied. They wanted to take care of this, get this out of the way.
It's been overshadowing all the other Games, and they want to take care of...
HEMMER: Rusty, apologize for the interruption. That briefing is now under way.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
JACQUES ROGGE, PRESIDENT, INTL. OLYMPIC COMMITTEE: I don't need to introduce them, but I will for formality. We have Mr. Ottavio Cinquanta on my far left, president of the ISU, and of course Dr. Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee. You should know that this is going live. So I don't (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
The second this I will give Mr. Cinquanta the opportunity to make some comments, and then the president of the IOC, and then I'll open up the questions. You know the procedure on questions, if you will identify yourself and your organization, and I'll do my best to get to you and we'll take questions in sequence.
Thank you very much -- Mr. Cinquanta.
OTTAVIO CINQUANTA, PRESIDENT, INTL. SKATING UNION: Good morning, everybody.
Since we met a few days ago in this conference room, the International Skating Union has declared two days ago intensified its action in order to have a complete assessment of the situation. We are working very hard, and due to the fact that we were able to resolve the controversial situation that existed two days ago. And when I say, to resolve, it means that we have got evidence, information and evidence, that we were in a position to take a decision -- I convened a council meeting of the International Skating Union that took place last night, immediately after the event of figure skating, so about 9:45, 10:00 last night.
With the attendance of all the council members, we evaluated, also debated the situation and we were, therefore able to take one decision and one deliberation. The decision is that we have suspended with immediate effect the judge of figure skating Mrs. Manuel Mrs. Le Gougne, French nationality. Since the council got evidence, enough evidence, that this individual was responsible of misconduct. And this misconduct has not provided all the skaters involved to be judged equally, and therefore the sanction reached suspension. Of course, give those to a deliberation. The first one was a decision. The second one was deliberation.
But the deliberation was to consider to have the event in pair skating as an equal. It's a result between the two pairs from Canada and Russia, and even though this deliberation is not according to International Skating Union rules. This was an extraordinary deliberation of the review in the presence of really extraordinary situation. This deliberation I have personally presented to the president of the International Olympic, Dr Jacques Rogge, and I think that now he has to go on, with your respect, president, because I have handed over the deliberation of the council, official deliberation of the council in your hand.
ROGGE: Thank you very much, Mr. Cinquanta. After having discussed at length with Mr. Cinquanta yesterday afternoon I convened an executive board meeting of the International Olympic Committee that was held this morning, and we received an official proposal from the International Skating Union to award gold medal to Sale and Pelletier. The executive order of the IOC agreed and a gold medal will be awarded to the Canadian pair. I would like to thank the International Skating Union and its president for having resolved this matter as fast as possible. I'm happy for the athletes, not only for the skaters, but also in particular, for all the other athlete and the sports who deserve the full attention of the media and the public opinion. We are ready to take questions.
QUESTION: Hello, Stephanie Junther (ph), CBC International News.
Mr. Cinquanta, what is the evidence you received against Madam Mrs. Le Gougne?
CINQUANTA: The evidence that she's responsible of misconduct that is more than service is mandatory and she acted in a way that was not adequate to get and guarantee equal condition, and this I think is enough, because when we have declared a certain misconduct, it is already I believe enough.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry. Would you wait for me to single you out, because otherwise it could become very complicated. And take one question, not a follow-up question, OK. The gentlemen at the back with the microphone.
QUESTION: Mr. Cinquanta, could we have a microphone, please I'm afraid the microphone is not on. There's no microphone on. The interpreter cannot hear. It's just gone on now. It's just goes on.
(through translator): Mr. Cinquanta, could you please give us a reply in French, please, what is the proof that you've received to indicate that Madame Mrs. Le Gougne was guilty of misconduct and, therefore, that the Canadian pair deserved a gold medal. And if that is the case, why don't you just discard her vote and take into account the other votes of the other judges?
CINQUANTA (through translator): I'm not going to be able to give you any specific information on this. I think that it is -- we are duty bound to give you some information and to protect the interest of the athletes, but I'm not going to give you the details of the discussion and the evidence that we received, et cetera. It's a very delicate and difficult position for us, and obviously, there is a certain part that is official and confidential, and therefore, I'm not going to be able to give you that information.
But from what I can tell you is that we decided to put the two pairs on an equal footing, and we are not going to start doing all the calculations of the different marks that were given. We simply asked the IOC to give two gold medals.
QUESTION: From Germany, question goes to Mr. Rogge.
Could you tell us if the executive board was complete in this decision? Was it unanimous decision, and was it based on rules, or was it, as Mr. Cinquanta explained, made by extraordinary situation?
ROGGE: There were nine members present. Seven voted in favor. One against. One abstention.
QUESTION: This is David Bloom from NBC News.
ROGGE: Sorry, you're right, I didn't respond to the second part of your question. This was based absolutely on the charge and the regulations of the IOC.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we just hold NBC, I've gone to Reuters -- Adrian Water (ph) on the left.
QUESTION: Sir, can you tell us, are you aware, one can say misconduct, but one has to be a bit more precise, otherwise the whole world's media won't understand, are you saying that the French judge was put under any pressure whatsoever to give the votes that she gave?
ROGGE: You're asking the question to me, but this is an inquiry is that led by the ISU, and I will hand this over to president Cinquanta.
CINQUANTA: Thank you very much, president. You are very kind.
As I say -- as I responded already in French, I believe that by declaring there was evidence of misconduct is more than enough, because this resulted in e decision, but the basis of the misconduct that Mrs. Le Gougne was submitted to a certain pressure and we do believe that this pressure is resulted in putting this judge in a condition not to pronounce, not to give the vote in an adequate manner. More than this, I cannot tell you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will take that NBC question now.
QUESTION: David Bloom from NBC news, over here, in the far corner, far left.
We were told that the French judge who is now been suspended said at the meeting of the judges in referee on Tuesday morning that it was the French figure skating federation that pressured her. Is this investigation confined to merely the one judge, or is the French figure skating association or other associations now under investigation.
I have a follow-up, if I may.
CINQUANTA: The investigation that we have completed resulted in the suspension of the judge. The judge is the one forming the result. Anything else that is related to this case will be given proper attention, but at this very moment, we are unable to say anything more, so we want to be fair. We can be tough, very tough, as I say to two days ago, but we have to respect procedures, and we have to respect the situation. So that at the moment, the responsibility that is the most important one is with the judge (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that the council has been victim or is responsible of misconduct.
QUESTION: And if I could ask a follow-up of Mr. Rogge. How much damage do you believe this has done, not merely to these Olympic games, but to the Olympic movement more generally?
ROGGE: I don't think this has created damage to the Olympic movement, because it was resolved fast in the best possible way, taking into account the interest of the athletes and the interest of sport. I'm happy for the resolution. We are here in extraordinarily well-organized Olympic games. The athlete are very happy in general. The public the warm and supportive. This superb weather, and this is definitely now a closed matter and I believe that the full attention will come back to athletes from now on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's very kind to NBC to allow that follow- ups, but please, no more follow-up questions. Second point is I can see many of your hands, and I'll do my best. I'll go to the young lady here in the front.
QUESTION: Thank you. Christy Bochop (ph) from "The National Post."
A question for both Mr. Cinquanta and Mr. Rogge I guess. Are we to understand then that there is no further question. You, Mr. Rogge, just said this is a closed matter. You used the word, the Investigation is over. Nothing further will happen?
CINQUANTA: Maybe I have not spoken very well your language, but the investigation is not concluded, but we have got enough evidence to make the first decision. Now please give us some more time. We will continue our assessment, and then the certain day, we will declare this investigation is concluded, but the investigation is not yet concluded.
ROGGE: As from the IOC point of view, the question was whether we would award a gold medal to the Canadian pair, the answer was yes. It is not the IOC responsibility to conduct the inquiry, it is the International Skating Union's responsibility. We trust them to do that in very good manner, and of course, we will be interested for the outcome of it, but this is not our responsibility.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does Jim Barriers (ph) of the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) have a microphone?
OK, we'll go straight to this gentlemen with a microphone three back?
QUESTION: Mr. Rogge, considering the extraordinary nature of this decision, it is time now to reconsider some results from the past, specifically Roy Jones 1988 in Seoul. There is so much evidence that proves it seems that he should have gotten the gold medal in Seoul. Does this open the door for those decisions, specifically Roy Jones?
ROGGE: We doubt with the problem of the day. We will see tomorrow how we will deal with eventually other problems.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The lady in the back there in red, please.
QUESTION: Can you describe for us, please, what circumstances, what sort of ceremony will the presentation of the gold take place, when and where?
CINQUANTA: Well, we are now trying to, if possible, you know to turn a negative situation into positive. I cannot bring the best of the situation (ph). And we propose that president Rogge that an award medals for the first (ph) event will be held on the day of the last -- last day of the last figure skating event that would be on the 18th -- on the 21st of February, whether will be figure skating for ladies. If the organization is locked, because this is not something you can decide alone, is in line. If it is possible, maybe, maybe before the competition of the ladies on the 21st, that would be the award of medals for the day's skating.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gentleman, here, can you have the microphone please?
QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) from Moscow, Drew Daly (ph).
Mr. IOC president, don't you think that this decision of yours will create a dangerous precedent in the future in other kinds of sports, where the judging is a bit subjective?
Thank you much.
ROGGE: There is no precedent in that. This is not the first time IOC has taken a similar decision. This is fourth time that the IOC has done this. It's happened in the past. We hope it's not going to happen in the future. But we took a decision that was one of justice and fairness for the athletes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lady at the back in blue.
QUESTION: Hazel Urkin (ph), BBC Television.
Mr. Rogge, how much embarrassment has this affair caused to the IOC, and what measures, if any, will you take to punish the ISU.
ROGGE: I don't see how the IOC could have been embarrassed. This was a matter that was in the hands and the responsibility of an international federation. They've conducted it extremely well, and they have proposed it then to award a gold medal to the Canadian pair, which they did, because of justice and fairness to the athletes. So absolutely no embarrassment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John Lehman (ph).
QUESTION: Mr. Cinquanta, John Lehman, "New York Post." Do you have any evidence at this stage to suggest that there was some Russian involvement in the incident?
CINQUANTA: No, there are no evidence of Russian involvement in this incident.
QUESTION: Hello. Jaqueline Megmay (ph) of (UNINTELLIGIBLE). I am just wondering what steps you are taking to ensure the integrity of the ice skating competition judging tonight, given that that is being implicated in this scandal?
CINQUANTA (in English): Well, there's adequate transparency and also the action we have taken these days is the best proof that in the ISU, the ISU family, there is a very high sense of responsibility. So I don't think there will be any possible consequence with other ISU events following this case.
Basically, we are in the area of psychological approach and point of view. You put me a question, I give you my response to your question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The gentleman to the far right. Yes, please.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your microphone is not working. Try again.
QUESTION (through translator): (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Mr. Cinquanta, what sort of decision will you take for the future to ensure that the similar thing doesn't happen? For example, will you be choosing selecting the judges very early for the dancing competition.
CINQUANTA (through translator): I will answer this in French.
(in English) It's a very important question. We ask which initiative the ISU plans to take for the future to avoid similar embarrassing situations.
(through translator): I can say that in December I worked very hard on a project that I had, and I had even announced that the counsel would be informed of a new system of judging that we had decided upon last year.
(in English) of innovating of doing something in order to prevent this embarrassing situation. I said already, two days ago, that a long time ago I had prepared a project which would be submitted with the council in the next day, in order to evaluate whether this project could be implemented or not. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) be more adequate system. So we are trying very hard constantly and very hard that we improve our position.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gentleman here in front.
QUESTION: For President Rogge and Mr. Cinquanta. I'd like to ask both of you, as difficult as may be to admit, is it time to acknowledge that there have been some major problems with judging in figure skating in the past 10-15 years and that it's time to open the door and let everyone see, warts and all, what the system is like and just reoverhaul everything.
And number two, I'd like to know how difficult it was for you to watch Sale and Pelletier deal with all of this for the last few days?
CINQUANTA: You will allow me maybe one minute (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of the situation. In order (UNINTELLIGIBLE) punishment. The punishment is there because there are stealers. So if the stealers still exist, even the pressure of punishment is not the fault of the punishment. Pressure and discussion in the area of subjective judging -- not just in figure skating, in all life, you know -- exist. Our duty is to do the utmost in order to prevent, to limit, this. But you know, I repeat subjective judging are free, and it is impossible to control 100 percent. But in the case of the evidence that something went wrong, then you have seen in 24 hours we have set as a former speedskater a world record.
ROGGE: The IOC has already addressed the issue of subjective judgment in other sports, like in boxing, where we had very fruitful talks within Russian boxing federations which led to changes and modifications in the judgment and the system of the computer who blinks in fairness and transparence and visibility.
I want to stress that, of course, this is a matter for the international federations, but we will talk with all the international federations, who have subjective judgment and discuss with them to see where and when we can improve.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
The person straight in front, in the red.
QUESTION (through translator): Mr. Cinquanta, from (UNINTELLIGIBLE), Canada. I would like to know how far public opinion played a part in the decision that was taken today?
CINQUANTA (through translator): I must say that public opinion helped a great deal, and I think that that's a very positive thing for public opinion and for the journalist, because there was this push for us to take a quick decision.
You know, two days ago, I said that there were three participants, that is the athlete, the judges, and public opinion that play a part. And I felt that public opinion has helped us to work on this quickly to take a decision.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know it's frustrating if I haven't called on you. I can see you. Just let us take our time.
This gentleman on the far left.
QUESTION (through translator): Question for Mr. Rogge: Do you think that you're sending out a message that the IOC is taking a stand in favor of athletes to the detriment of the federations and the major administrations that take care of these sports?
ROGGE (through translator): Well, of course we are taking a stand in favor of the athletes, but the federations are doing the same. I don't think that there is any ambiguity in the solutions that have been found. I think that from the very start, I had very fruitful relations with President Cinquanta. In fact, we worked together to find the fairest solution possible and as quickly as possible. And I think that both of us, and both organizations, obviously, put the athlete first.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks for keeping questions short. It's helping a great deal.
To the far left. You have a microphone? QUESTION (through translator): Jeanne Voncoate (ph), from "Le Monde." I have two questions to ask. What Madame Le Gougne heard by the ISU before the decision was taken.
And don't you also think that since you don't seem to have any tangible proof with regard to this misconduct, in Europe, it may be interpreted as having given in to public opinion and pressure in Canada and the United States?
CINQUANTA (through translator): Well, I think that the answer is very clear. So I think that I could only answer the second question. We took a decision on the basis of a written declaration by Madame Le Gougne, which was signed by Madame Le Gougne, before we, in fact, took the decision. So I don't think there was any psychological element that came into play.
QUESTION: There's been a lot of pressure on the IOC and the ISU over the past few days. While you're interested in the best interest of the athletes, public opinion has been very heavy on this, and to what extent did this public pressure, the outcry, have on forcing a decision on this?
ROGGE: You know me well enough to know I'm rather cool. This is something that has not been led by public opinion. It's been led by -- first consideration was care for due process. ISU has led an inquiry according to the rules of due process, came it a conclusion, came to the IOC, and we then came to the final solution that I have explained.
Of course, public opinion is always an important matter. But we took the time that was needed, and it was resolved in a fast way, and I'm very glad. Our consideration was the fairness of the competition and the athletes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a gentleman who has been waiting for a long time up here. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in the gray. Straight through. Yes?
QUESTION: Russian Radio (UNINTELLIGIBLE). The question is you talk a lot about the pressure from the French side, from the French Federation of the French judge. Can we be sure, can you say that there was no pressure from the Canadian Federation on the International Skating Union and for French side from the Canadians and from Americans? Can we be sure that there was no pressure from these federations?
CINQUANTA: You mean from the Canadian federation?
QUESTION: Yes. You told about the pressure from the French federation, of that judge, but we are not sure that there...
CINQUANTA: No, there is not evidence -- no indication, not only evidence about the Canadian pressure on this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Straight through on the left.
QUESTION: Senor Cinquanta, did Madame --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excuse me, excuse me, would you just say you who you are, and designate yourself.
QUESTION: I'm sorry. I'm Warren Levinson (ph) from the Associated Press. Mr. Cinquanta, did Madame Le Gougne get an opportunity to defend herself before her marks were suspended?
CINQUANTA: As I said already to your colleague, Madame Le Gougne was interviewed by me personally in the presence of other individuals. She was given any possibility -- I personally informed her about the allegations, the accusation and after that, her declaration has been put in writing and she has signed it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gentleman in the red, beside the cameras.
QUESTION (through translator): (UNINTELLIGIBLE) for Mr.Cinquanta. Does the I.S.U.'s investigation only cover the French judge, or are you also going to be looking into the conduct of the other judges?
CINQUANTA (through translator): Well, for this particular case, we only focused on the situation for the Canadian pair and the Russian pair, and we only looked at the position taken by Madame Le Gougne, not anything to do with the other judges.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Straight ahead. Sorry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we can see you.
QUESTION: David Amber (ph), the Sports Network. Quick question. If -- Mr. Cinquanta, if you can give an idea of the time line, when you found out about the allegations of the pairs event being misjudged. Was that before their second skate or after the competition had been completed. As well, can you shed some light on the motivation from the French side, if there was no Russian involvement?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The lady straight through here in the corridor. It is...
It is a bit difficult against the lights to distinguish gender. You will have to forgive me if I make a mistake.
QUESTION (through translator): Cathrine Canot (ph)...
CINQUANTA: You are trying to help me, but...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you so much...
CINQUANTA: Well, we have been informed the day after the competition, not before, not during. After the competition. We took immediate action, but there were no -- there are no indication regarding the Russian position in this event. Just the French one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you like one more minute, Ottavio?
QUESTION (through translator): Katrin Canado (ph) from Radio Canada for Mr. Cinquanta. Mr. Cinquanta, so you said was that only the French judge was responsible for the suspension of the results. Did you also discuss this with the other judges, and is the investigation going to go any further? Are you going to discuss things with the heads of the other federations, or the other associations? How far are you going to go in your investigation?
CINQUANTA (through translator): Well, first and foremost, we felt that we should deal with the allegations that concerned Madame Le Gougne only. Secondly, we also worked on the report of the referee who was the supervisor of the competition, not only does he have the power to do this, but it is also his duty, and to come back to your third point, obviously, we will continue the investigation, as I said earlier, to see whether, in fact, the situation is much wider than we thought initially.
QUESTION: Yes. John Powers (ph), Boston Globe, for Mr. Cinquanta. The issue here is not so much vote swapping, but pressure from a federation upon a judge, named by that federation. Would the easy solution in the future be to have the I.S.U. name all judges itself, and not rely on nominations from the host countries, and especially not nominations a year in advance, where you can have the kind of collusion that may have happened here?
CINQUANTA: In any case, any individual in the world has a nationality, even if and it is not that the member federation appointing or nominating a judge for the Olympic Games, even if it is the I.S.U. picking up the judges, these judges are coming from national federation, so it would be just a procedural matter, but does it change the merit? Therefore, this is not the point. The point is to find a system to limit the possibility of wrongdoing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The gentleman on the far left, and then I'm going to take two more questions.
QUESTION: This question is for Mr. Cinquanta. Steve Bofree (ph) from the Toronto Sun. Did the French judge indicate to you at all, sir, why she decided to admit that there was pressure on her? Was it after questioning, or were there other factors that propelled her to come clean, so to speak, to you?
CINQUANTA: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) two points. First off, that this judge has practically admitted on the occasion of a meeting in the presence of the referee of the event, the situation that then conducted us to declare this as a misconduct, and this is very important. But there is another important thing. In the International Skating Union rules (ph) is clearly stated, that in the case an individual, in particular a judge, receive pressure, or any other type of, let's say, of action, or indication to act improperly, then this individual must immediately inform the referee and the president of the I.S.U. This didn't happen in the case of Mrs. Le Gougne. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The gentleman in front here.
QUESTION: Devon Skillion (ph), WDIB in Detroit, so much of the responsibility here has laid at the hands of Ms. Le Gougne, but there were four other judges on Monday who sided with the Russian pair. Has there been a re-examination of the decisions and votes that they made on Monday night?
CINQUANTA: With all the due respect, sir, I'm very surprised about your question, because there was, let's say, a very tough competition, and the performance of the skater on the ice were at the high level. So the fact that we have now assessed and decided to dis -- to suspend a judge is the result of this conduct. But all the other judges have got the right, a democratic right to vote for the couple they want to vote for, and the other judges, they voted, some for the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Russians. This is not, let's say, the point. The point is the misconduct of one judge.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gentleman on the far right, at the back -- yes.
QUESTION: Yes, this question is for Mr. Cinquanta. This is Martin Frank (ph) of the Wilmington (ph) News Journal. Can you say how long the suspension of the judge is for, and if that decision has not been made, when it will be made, and if there is a chance that she might get a lifetime suspension.
CINQUANTA: Correct. We have decided for suspension with immediate effect, but the duration and the type of the sanction will be better defined on the occasion of the next council meeting, because we have to -- we need to have to conduct a full investigation. But in any case, the responsibilities confirmed and the suspension is confirmed. How long we last the suspension, it is not yet decided.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. We have given it a fair go. I apologize to those that I couldn't get to. Thank you.
HEMMER: There you have it. It took five days, but it appears that Skategate in Salt Lake is now winding down. The official announcement now from the skating union, also the International Olympic Committee that the Canadian pair of Jamie Sale and David Pelletier will be awarded gold, possibly later this week, perhaps on Thursday evening there in Salt Lake City. The Russians will also keep the gold medal that they won on Monday night, and really this has been the buzz of Salt Lake throughout this entire ordeal.
I want to show you a picture if we can, of not just this, but also of the French judge in question. Her name is Marie Le Gougne. Reports say she left Salt Lake earlier this week, but at this point, we now know that there has been -- quote -- "evidence," that this French judge was -- quote -- "responsible for misconduct," and has been suspended.
How long that suspension lasts is really unclear at this point, but to give you a bit better clarity about what happens at these particular events, there are ten judges, nine of whom have scores that actually count, and are tabulated toward the medal and the standings. The tenth judge is strictly viewed as an alternate judge, who basically comes into play when there is a sickness, or an illness, or in the case of impropriety, like we have seen here in Salt Lake City. It is been that alternate judge's opinion and ruling and judgment from Monday night that has now been included in this, which, in essence, gives the Canadians a piece of the gold as well.
Back out to Salt Lake. Rusty Dornin was listening and watching.
I should say kudos to NBC too for allowing us to show that to our viewers, because they have exclusive rights to the Olympics. They paid millions and millions of dollars to get it. But nonetheless, Rusty, a fairly interesting press briefing here. You do not see things like this happen at the Olympic level very often.
DORNIN: You certainly don't. I mean, they have only awarded a double medal in two different cases, you know, in 1924 and 1992.
Some of the interesting things I thought from what I understood, Bill, is that they wanted to put the Canadians and the Russians on equal footing. But they do not want to recompute the actual marks. Whether that would create other controversy or whatever, they said they don't want to go back and look at marks, but they want to see them on equal footing.
Of course, the other thing is that they are not talking about what kind of misconduct went on, although they did say the Russian judges were not involved in this case. There was no action in any direction on that. Their investigation is not complete, apparently. But of course, as we know, that judge, Marie Le Gougne, has been suspended from the International Skating Union and from the Olympics.
So we have yet to see when the medals ceremony will be for Pelletier and Sale. But it looks like it is coming up.
HEMMER: Rusty, stand by.
I want to go inside. I have a few more questions for you.
But John Giannone, by telephone now, was inside that room, listening and watching that briefing.
John, what do you have?
JOHN GIANNONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I will tell you what, Bill, Rusty was exactly right. It is interesting to see the way they decided this, basically saying that because the integrity was compromised in the voting process and because one of the judges clearly acted in a role of misconduct, that the simplest and most equitable, and, as they said, the fairest way to do things, would simply be to toss out her vote. And when that's done, it becomes 4-4, and therefore, there were twin gold medalists. That's what going to happen in the end.
But I agree with Rusty. I was very surprised to hear that they didn't want to go back and recount votes. I think the OLYMPIC COMMITTEE and International Skating Union took the same stance the Canadian Federation took in recent days, saying we don't want it tear anybody down, we just want it live up those who deserve to be lifted. I think that's what the IOC is saying here; they didn't want it bring the Russian pair down because they did put forth, in the eyes of four of the judges, a gold medal performance.
HEMMER: John, clarify this. There have been allegations throughout the week of collusion between judges, but the Russian judge was not examined here. Is there a better clarification that you picked up in Salt Lake that I missed here in Atlanta?
GIANNONE: It's one of the closely guarded secrets, and I dare say that because this investigation is not yet completed, there may yet be evidence uncovered there was more than just the French Federation putting pressure on the French judge.
There is a lot of unspoken things that go on in this sport. It is a very close-knit sport, it's very internal. We may find in the coming days that the French Federation did this to this French judge quite possibly simply to get back at the Canadian pair for what happened last year in the world championships or for something that happened in the ice dancing four years ago. There is a myriad of different reasons why this could have happened. I think that more information will be coming out in the coming days.
HEMMER: John, I will let you go in a second. I know you are on a cell phone. But quickly, what is your sense about how Salt Lake goes forward from this. Frankly, at this point, despite the great competition on the hills, inside and outside of Salt Lake, this has dominated the news. How do they proceed forward? What's your sense on that?
GIANNONE: My sense on this, Bill, and I really hesitate to say it, I really felt that late last night, short of a -- and I will put it this way -- a major breech in security at these games, this will be the long and lasting story of these winter Olympics, which is a shame because there's been nice competitions out on the slopes and out on the race courses.
But I do believe the IOC did exactly what it needed to do. It is something Jacques Rogge that his predecessor, Juan Antonio Samaranch, never would have never done. He stepped forward and said this is a serious matter. The integrity of the games is at stake. We have got to resolve this issue. And they did what they felt they had to do, in the quickest amount of time, to get past it. Will people get past it? I don't think so. But this is a definite good first step in the direction.
HEMMER: John, thanks. John Giannone inside that press briefing there by telephone.
Really, if you look at this Olympic Committee, they have moved, frankly, for them, at lightning speed, taking care of this within five days time. Now to the streets of Moscow and Matthew Chance now, who was gauging reaction earlier this week from Russians on this topic. Matthew now joins us by telephone as well.
Is there much just yet on this -- Matthew.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not just yet. A bitter (UNINTELLIGIBLE), Bill. There's been no immediate official reaction here, but I can tell you from on the soundings we've been taking on the streets of Moscow, you can probably expect to hear some very surprised, even disappointed, voices coming out of Russia as a result of this really extraordinary decision by the International Olympic Committee to award what amounts to a joint gold medal or a second gold medal to the Canadian figure skating pair.
The whole controversy here has, of course, been watched very closely by people in Russia. People have, as you might expect, have been very supportive of the Russian gold medal winners. The tone of the media coverage here in Russia has been quite indignant at the scale of the scandal, the scandal in the North American media, indignant that a question mark like this has been placed over what the vast majority of sports fans here, ordinary Russians, have seen from the outset of a clear-cut, fair and square win for their skaters -- Bill.
HEMMER: Matthew, interesting perspective. Matthew Chance, reporting by telephone in Moscow.
Earlier this week, we had some Moscovites here on CNN saying to the Canadians, get over it, and quit your crying, in essence, based on the translation there. But certainly, there is an enormous amount of pride in Canada, not just over the past week in this event, but also what they felt was really an unjust ruling for the Canadian pair on Monday evening.
To Los Angeles now, Tara Lipinski, who at the moment is still the world's reigning women's champion on the ice.
Tara, can you hear me OK?
TARA LIPINSKI, U.S OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: Yes, I can.
HEMMER: Initially, give us from the top here your reaction to what we just witnessed in Salt Lake?
LIPINSKI: With them awarding the two gold medals?
HEMMER: That's exactly right.
LIPINSKI: I support their decision. I know they today make a quick decision now to resolve this before, I think, any of the other events took place. But I really do hope this is the first and last time this would ever happen because I think that it kind of dilutes the value of a gold medal. And for me, as a skater, I remember going there, and it is like that gold medal means so much. And you just want it so bad because you know no one else can take that away from you.
HEMMER: Tara, you mentioned that you hope this is the first and last, but if the system the way it is set up continues in its current form, it may not be the last. Do you think skating needs to change its ways right now? And if so, how would do you it?
LIPINSKI: Well, no, this is what I'm hoping: I'm hoping that this circumstance does change the way the judging is being held. I think that that is why the committee did this, to show everyone that we think this is important. We want skating to be credible and for athletes to have faith in us. I hope that this is the change that was needed. This has never happened in skating before.
HEMMER: You are a gold medalist. Tell me how you change it.
LIPINSKI: If I was a judge, I think I would go out on that panel and judge everything perfectly fairly from this point on, just so this never happens again.
HEMMER: How do you think it may damage figure skating in the near term?
LIPINSKI: I don't think it'll damage. That's why I support this. I hope that it nips it in the bud and that from now on, this doesn't happen anymore. I think a lot of people think, Well, I don't understand this: two gold medals at an Olympics.
HEMMER: Kind of dilutes it a little bit.
Take us back to Monday night. Were you watching coverage at this point?
LIPINSKI: I was, and I was sitting there choreographer of Jamie and David, which is also my choreographer.
HEMMER: Is that right?
LIPINSKI: And just watching. Of course, I was rooting for Jamie and David and also watching Elena and Anton and saying, Wow, they just had a great program and they won an Olympic gold medal. But it was shocking. I thought at the moment that Jamie and David had won. But I wasn't shocked they put the Russians in first, just because of how judging has always been.
HEMMER: I appreciate your perspective. Certainly, this is something that has, as we say in this business, a lot of legs at this point. Tara Lipinski, the reigning women's champion, by telephone, in Los Angeles.
Back to Utah, from Park City, filmmaker and historian Bud Greenspan is with us.
Can you see and hear me OK?
BUD GREENSPAN, OLYMPIC FILMMAKER/HISTORIAN: Yes, Bill, can I see you. HEMMER: Tell us, let's get first your reaction of what we heard 45 minutes ago.
GREENSPAN: It brought back old home week for me because I remember 1992, a similar situation happened with a Canadian who had received a silver medal because the judge punched the wrong scoring. But that was not anywhere near this one. But it's interesting that 10 years later, it's another Canadian.
But I think the decision was the right one, and I think everyone involved should be commended after a couple of bad days.
HEMMER: It is ironic, Bud, that this involved the Canadians once again. But the incident to which you refer was 1992 in Barcelona. It wasn't until 1993, well after the games were completed, that they actually figured out what happened there in synchronized swimming.
GREENSPAN: Exactly. That's why this is so well done by both the IOC and the federation involved. If it had gone past the end of the games, it never would have been resolved.
HEMMER: Oh, really, you think so?
GREENSPAN: Well, I was involved in the Soviet Union basketball "victory" -- quote, unquote -- back in...
GREENSPAN: ... the 1972 Munich Games, which took a year for the final decision to be made, when the United States protested the Soviet victory in that heartrendering game you remember so well, I'm sure.
HEMMER: Jacques Rogge is getting a lot of credit for this decision. Do you think it would have been the same with Juan Antonio Samaranch still in charge?
GREENSPAN: Jacques Rogge is a different type of man. He gets to the point very quickly. And when I saw the impressions that were on the screen from Salt Lake with Jacques Rogge and Francois Carrard, I knew the influence of the IOC had taken a different road. I'm not sure the decision would have been the same by President Samaranch, but certainly he would have acted a lot more quickly, since this has been a bugaboo for so many -- for so long.
HEMMER: Listen, Bud, I am an absolute novice when it comes to figure skating and here is what I was trying to get out of Tara Lipinski, and I tried to get out of others, but I can't seem to get to the bottom of it. I don't really know if there is a solution to this question, but if you were to change the current form and try and clear up some of the subjectivity involved in figure skating, how would you do it in terms of judging and scoring?
GREENSPAN: Well, someone who said in the press conference that you have to find out about nationalism and the countries involved as judges. The scoring -- I have been in this business, as you know, for almost 50 years and I still don't understand it. The thing where someone skating first cannot get perfect sixes because they have to have room for somebody else to get a perfect six. It sounds like Dark Ages scoring. So I don't know the answer to that one.
But I do know the answer to this one, and that is was done before the first week of a competition was over, and that was a magnificent effort on the part of the IOC and the Federation to get it resolved before the second week of activity.
HEMMER: I agree with you there. What are you picking up, what's your sense on the streets of Park City with this matter not only really dominating the Olympic Games, but now that at least it looks like there is a conclusion to this matter? The Games from here on out, do we go back to the athletes now, Bud?
GREENSPAN: Yes. Well, you know, Bill, the athletes have made every Olympics for me. And The people in Salt Lake have been backing these Games for so long and overcoming the illegalities and immoralities that have taken place and this will be in the newspapers for the next couple days and then it will be an asterisk. I'm quite sure of that.
HEMMER: All right. Bud, listen, thanks. Come back again, OK.
GREENSPAN: OK, Bill, see you.
HEMMER: You got it, from Park City on the telephone. Also our thanks to Tara Lipinski, now performing with Stars on Ice. They're in Los Angeles. She was by telephone with us a short time ago.
Live now, here is Rusty Dornin once again. Rusty, same question to you about the -- well, go ahead. I'm sorry, you were about to say something.
RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I was speaking -- I have been speaking with a couple of the coaches the last, you know, couple of days while this has been going on. And a couple of the ideas that I heard was, one, create an independent association for judges where they are actually hired and fired by the ISU. That was one idea.
And another one that Kathy Casey had, who is the former coach for Scott Hamilton, her idea was you don't just bar the coach. You actually suspend the country that the coach represents for maybe the next Olympic Games, so that the countries and the federations themselves would take a much greater interest in making sure that their judges are making very fair, you know, decisions regarding the athletes.
I also think another interesting thing was that the IOC actually admitted that, you know, public opinion really did drive this to make a fairly quick decision. Some of the European press was saying that they gave in to the Americans and the Canadians, and the IOC denying it, saying, no, no, we did find misconduct and this is the way it should have been handled.
HEMMER: Have you picked up much Canadian reaction just yet, Rusty, or it's still a bit too early? DORNIN: Well, we actually have folks over at the Canada house. We will be bringing it to you soon, but not quite yet. The news conference was just over. So we don't quite have any -- I'm sure there is a lot of celebration going on.
HEMMER: I'm sure there is. This French judge, reports early this week said she had left Salt Lake. Do you know about that or not?
DORNIN: There was rumor that she had left. But then again, when we were hearing the Canadian skaters had demanded this appearance before the court of arbitration for sports, which actually was created by the IOC in 1983, that they had -- all of the judges had been told to stay in town until that meeting. So it looks like she may still be here, but perhaps after last night, I don't know when they contacted her to tell her about her suspension. Perhaps she has left town by now.
HEMMER: Well, they have been extraordinary Games in so many ways and it continues again today. Hey, Rusty, thanks. Stay warm out there. We'll talk to you next hour. Rusty Dornin live in Salt Lake.
Getting a little more information right now, Jamie Sale and David Pelletier apparently will meet with reporters sometime within the hour. We do anticipate to -- we'll bring you their comments just as soon as we can lasso them in out there in the state of Utah.
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