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Judged by a jury of one's peers

"You Gotta Be Kidding!"©
by Mickey Charles CEO, sportsnetwork.com

Sale and Pelletier
Jamie Sale and David Pelletier of Canada perform in the figure skating exhibition. One of the largest controversies in Salt Lake was judging issues, specifically within the ice-skating venues.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -- The Winter Olympics came to Salt Lake City this year, and the weather was not conducive to some of the key people making the trek getting naked. But, naked they got? on a stage for the entire world to see. The competition for the bragging rights on the planet turned out, in many cases, to be no more than a political tool for senile, antiquated and timeworn bureaucrats with Machiavellian manipulation at the forefront of their efforts. A sham was perpetrated on the public when it came to events that were decided by judges and not time watches.

When we look back on the 2002 Winter Olympics it will be everyone's fervent wish that the confrontations, inconsistencies and stupidities will fade away over the years. There will also be hope for correction and improvement. That is as likely to happen as summer all year 'round in Green Bay, Wisconsin or Juno, Alaska.

The judges for ice-skating are partisan hacks that are conniving, contriving and designing pawns of their countries and hearts. They are as objective as a new dad and mom when asked how the baby looks. The losers, figuratively and realistically, are always the athletes. They are the victims in this athletic game of chess.

Win a gold medal or complain. Fairness and integrity are not the order of the day. Seek to balance the scales and pursue impartiality and you are accused of being a poor sport.

David Pelletier and Jamie Sale won the pairs competition. There was no doubt about that. The evidence was as irrefutable as the sun really being a burning ball in the sky above us. Russia's Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze were simply not as good and it was not a crowd decision. It was a fact.

In competitive events where four years of planning, practicing and sacrifice come in second by 1/100th of a second, it is hard to comprehend the dedication and the agony of defeat, or even the somewhat feigned happiness over a silver or bronze medal. For judges who seem to have been exhumed every few years to make decisions that have such an impact on someone's life they better be the best and most objective ones available. To date, they are not?nor have they been for years and years. These are the Olympics, where they have been exposed, and their intrigues and ineptitudes made a matter of public record.

Until this year's Olympics, the cameras never even focused on the judges, and we did not realize that so many of them were actually comatose and ready for the Home. They were totally out of touch with reality.

Kim Dong-Sung and Apolo Anton Ohno
Kim Dong-Sung (left) of Korea leads Apolo Anton Ohno of the U.S. during a men's speed skating event. In the controversial 1500m event, Dong-Sung was disqualified and Ohno was awarded a Gold medal.
What began as a slow drip with the pairs ice-skating became a flood with other events. Speed skating pile-ups and bumps. Some run over, a team disqualified, another not run over and a gold medal going to a skater almost as far back as his country is distant from Salt Lake City, a winner watching his medal taken away during a victory lap when Kim Dong-Sung had to give way to Apolo Anton Ohno.

Russia, Korea and other countries that follow them around from the men's room to the airport threaten to take their Nike uniforms, skates and bags and head home, never to return. A line forms to buy them tickets. They do not leave. They pout a lot. South Korea files a protest that is rejected and makes sure that 16,000 plus e-mails go to Ohno and the IOC web site.

Park Sung-in, leader of the South Korean Olympic team not only threatens a boycott (boy, will they be missed!?!?!?) but then hires a lawyer and threatens a lawsuit. Funny how he forgot when Korean boxing judges came up with a decision that cost Roy Jones Jr. the gold at the Seoul Olympics in 1986. He out-punched Korea's Park Si-hun, 86 to 32, in as one-sided a three round bout as was possible. Guess who won 3-2? That was when the referee, Ado Leoni, whispered to Jones, "I can't believe they're doing this to you."

How quickly amnesia possesses some of us.

Sarah Hughes
Sarah Hughes of the U.S. went from fourth to first, securing the Gold medal for women's single ice skating. The Russians protested that Irina Slutskaya should have won.
Sarah Hughes and a performance in the long program that was as much a six as any ever seen but not one such score by any of the judges. Still, she vaulted from fourth after the short program to triple-triple into first place and a gold medal over everyone else in sight. That was the cue for the Russians to complain that Irina Slutskaya should have won. Hell, if Sasha Cohen and Michelle Kwan had not each faltered, Irina would have wound up in fourth place.

The Canadian men's hockey team head coach, Pat Quinn, did not want to be outdone so he lauded the Canadian women, who bested the U.S. team for the gold (the same ladies that had beat them eight straight times prior to this), and grumbled that American referee Stacy Livingston never stopped whistling penalties against the gals from across the border.

Team U.S.A. in men's hockey beats Russia, 3-2, and the Russian coach, Slava Fetisov, says that the win was pre-arranged to have our guys play Canada for the gold. He forgets that his own team did not start to play until the third period of that contest.

Win or protest has become the order of the day for some countries.

Now they are talking of a new judging system. What is being proposed is almost as inane as the current one. The short form on that suggestion is that it gives a point value to every element and technique so skaters get points for those required elements, as well as for their execution. Total points, similar to the way other subjective sports are scored, such as diving, determine the winner. The number of judges would be 14 but only seven of those judges' marks, chosen at random by computer, will count.

Nice, but doesn't anyone realize that every skater will not get the same judges and you do not work for four years to have the luck of the computer draw determine the winner. It is a flawed proposal.

Why not have peers of recent years do the judging? They respect one another. They do not favor their country over another one. They are as objective and knowledgeable as anyone out there. They know the sport better than the judges could ever hope to. Worried about a "homer" judgment? Fine, the person from the country of the skater(s) cannot vote when his team's athletes are on the ice. How tough is that? I would have Scott Hamilton, Peggy Fleming, Katarina Witt, Dorothy Hamill, Brian Boitano, Tara Lipinski, Kristi Yamaguchi, Oksana Baieul, Viktor Petrenko, Dick Button, Nancy Kerrigan, and/or Robin Cousins do the judging. You get the idea.

Mickey Charles
Will the Olympics even consider such a proposal? Will they just go along the way they have been and treat the athletes as the instruments of their other agendas? Will they ever listen to reason and be completely objective and fair? You gotta be kidding!