Alleged Olympic vote-swapping deal would keep Canada from gold

French magazine L'Equipe alleges the U.S. and Russia have struck a deal to help each other out at Sochi Winter Olympic figure skating events, which would keep Canada's Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir from the gold.

French magazine L'Equipe reports Russia-U.S. deal would see Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir win silver

An alleged pact between Russia and the U.S. would keep Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir from the gold, a French magazine has reported. (File/Associated Press)

French magazine L'Equipe alleges the U.S. and Russia have struck a deal to help each other out at Sochi Winter Olympic figure skating events, which would keep Canada's Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir from the gold.

The magazine quotes a Russian coach, who spoke to the magazine on the condition of anonymity about the "proposed barter" between the two countries.

According to the magazine, the anonymous official said the U.S. has agreed to help Russia win the pairs figure skating and team events.

In exchange, Russia would purportedly ensure Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the U.S. win gold over Canadian champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.

But Mike Slipchuk, Skate Canada's high performance director, says he's confident the judging will be fair.

"I stay clear of that stuff," he said. "I have full confidence that [when] the skaters go out and do their job, they will do their job on the ice, [and] the judges will judge it as they see it."

The International Skating Union refused to comment directly to the accusations, saying they would only take action if there was proof of misconduct.

"The ISU does not react to allegations without evidence," the organization said in a released statement. "Based on credible and verifiable evidence the ISU has always pursued cases of misconduct or other violations of the ISU statutes." 

Davis, a two-time world champion with White, wasn't concerned with the allegations when asked after the U.S., couple finished first in the short program — ahead of Virtue and Moir — of the ice dance team event on Saturday. 

"We haven't heard anything about it," she said. "We are confident that what we are putting out onto the ice speaks for itself."

This is not the first judging controversy to hit the Olympics.

In 2002, Canadian figure skaters Jamie Sale and David Pelletier placed second behind Russian pair Yelene Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze, despite a stumble during the Russians` performance.

A French judge later admitted she planned to vote for the Russians regardless of how they performed.
Sale and Pelletier, who initially took home silver, were eventually awarded a second gold medal in the event.

The sport's entire scoring system was overhauled on the heels of the scandal. The old 6.0 scoring system was replaced in 2004 to make the scoring more objective.

"We have lived through Sale and Pelletier, figure skating has a storied past with all that stuff," Moir said.

"The wonderful thing about the Olympic Games is that we are athletes and we do our jobs and we don't have to worry about all that."

With files from The Canadian Press, Reuters

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