Olympic Hockey: Russian politician smells a rat

February 15

SOCHI, Russia – “We wuz robbed” may not have an exact Russian equivalent, but Alexei Pushkov got pretty close Saturday when he took to Twitter.

Pushkov is the head of parliament’s foreign affairs committee, and he is a man who loves to find fault with the United States.

Saturday’s hockey game between the Russian and American teams smelled like a fix to him. A potential go-ahead goal for Russia was disallowed in the third period? Because the net had shifted?

And the official who made the decision was Brad Meier, an American? It took only a moment for Pushkov to connect the dots, tweeting in Russian:

“How can a referee from the U.S.A. judge the U.S. team?! The puck was in the goal! What an abomination! Cheating in front of the whole world!! Disgusting.”

Then he tweeted: “It was not a victory by the U.S. team over Russia: it was a ‘victory’ by the judging panel of the U.S. and Sweden. Nobody saw the goal shift.”

Finally: “We all saw how the referees of the United States judged in Salt Lake City. [Here he was reopening an old grudge, dating back to the Winter Olympics of 2002.] Now they are judging the same way in Sochi.  This was a stolen victory – and there’s a nasty feeling of deception.”

The outgoing U.S. ambassador, Michael McFaul, was meanwhile tweeting congratulations to both teams and exulting in exciting play – and the American victory.

Then he caught sight of a tweet by someone who agreed with Pushkov. “The American referee cheated when he overturned the goal,” it said, in Russian.

“Come on man!” McFaul replied, in English.

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