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Ice Dancing Judge Says Official Rules Not Followed
From News Services
Friday, February 20, 1998; Page D20

An experienced judge who officiated in the ice dance competition said the event was not scored according to International Skating Union rules.

Jean Senft of Canada also said there were different perceptions in North America and Europe about what ice dance should be, and Senft called on the ISU "to issue clear directions for what is acceptable."

"I honestly feel that what was skated on the ice was not judged," Senft said. "I'm disappointed in the result."

Senft said North American ice dancing was in line with what she believed was the ISU viewpoint, but there were too many Europeans on the judging panel.

"Unfortunately North Americans consider good ice dancing to be athletic performance with intricate footwork. Europeans prefer dramatic, theatrical performances with over-the-top facial movements.

"ISU rules state the athletic aspect must remain dominant, but unfortunately the theatrical is winning."

At the Nagano Olympics, there was no change in the final order of the first 19 of the 24 couples from before the free dance. The only switch involved couples placed 20th and 21st, one of whom fell and dropped a place.

Many of the critics have alleged that the results are pre- determined. There also have been claims of a Franco-Russian plot against Canada's champions, Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz, who finished fifth.

ISU officials have denied the charge. Wolfgang Kunz of Germany, the referee of the ice dance event in Nagano who supervises the judges, said this week: "There is absolutely no evidence or verification of the allegation of a so-called plot."

ISU vice president Lawrence Demmy of Britain, a four-time world champion in ice dance, said the Canadian couple had made three mistakes in the first dance, the Golden Waltz.

Senft disagreed. "I saw only one, and other skaters had mistakes that I thought were more blatant."

She had placed eventual champions Pasha Grishuk and Evgeny Platov second in the waltz and jive and first in the tango and free dance, where she put Bourne and Kraatz second and silver medalists Anjelika Krylova and Oleg Ovsiannikov third.

"I honestly feel I called it as I saw it. A few of us are changing but we are in a minority, so there is no change in the result. We need five, not two or three," she said.

Mayer the Expatriate?
Christian Mayer has threatened to quit the Austrian ski team and race for another country after being dropped from the lineup for the men's slalom on Saturday (Friday night EST) in favor of Mario Reiter, winner of the combined event.

"I've had enough. I want to take some action now," an Austrian Press Agency correspondent quoted Mayer as saying after he was told that he would not be in the slalom. "I am seriously considering the possibilities of competing for another country."

Austrian team coach Werner Margreiter told Reuters that he could not comment on what he called "a storm in a teacup." But he added that he would be speaking to Mayer later.

Mayer won a bronze in the combined in Hakuba last week and a bronze in the 1994 giant slalom in Lillehammer. He also won two World Cup giant slaloms this season.

Flying Debris Hits Hindle
Canadian bobsledder Matt Hindle was struck and slightly injured by falling debris at the athletes' village, but will be able to compete in Friday's four-man bobsled heat.

Hindle, 23, was outside at 8 p.m. Wednesday when he was hit by what Canadian Olympic Association spokeswoman Suzanne Charest said were "pieces of glass" from a Plexiglass barrier that fell from the sixth floor of the Olympic Village tower.

Brian Rahill, Canada's luge team leader, said Hindle required five stitches for a cut to his shoulder.

Ten days after he won the first men's cross-country race of the Winter Games, Finland's Mika Myllyla has pulled out of the last one, the latest Olympic contender to be felled by illness.

Myllyla, who won the 30-kilometer classical Feb. 9 and is the 50K world champion, has been suffering from a fever and said he would not be able to stand the rigors of the 50K on Sunday (Saturday night EST), Finnish officials said. The race will last more than two hours on a course that many of Myllyla's rivals perceive to be the toughest they have ever seen.

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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