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Winter Olympics 2014: Another figure skating fix? Report raises questions in Sochi

A report in a French publication says that the Americans and Russians are colluding to help one another in Sochi. The U.S. Figure Skating Federation denied the report.

Robert Cianflone

Concerns of score fixing are not new in Olympic figure skating, but U.S. Figure Skating denies allegations that they colluded with the Russians in an attempt to alter the outcome of the team figure skating event in Sochi.

French publication L'Equipe cited a Russian coach Friday who said that in exchange for a Russian judge helping American skaters Meryl Davis and Charlie White win ice dance gold later this week, the U.S. would help Russia win the team gold -- which, of course, Russia did win thanks in part to a mesmerizing performance by 15-year-old Yulia Lipnitskaya Sunday.

"There is no ‘help' between countries," a U.S. Figure Skating spokesperson said, via the Boston Globe. "We have no further response to rumors, anonymous sources or conjecture." When asked by reporters Sunday, White and Davis expressed disappointment in the rumors and turned the focus back to their performance on the ice.

A theoretical fix would help the Americans over Canadian pair Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, expected to battle with Davis and White in ice dancing at the 2014 Games. Davis and White have owned the rivalry of late, but the Canadians won gold on home ice in Vancouver in 2010. Davis and White are favored in Sochi.

As the Boston Globe points out, even if a fix could be proven, there's no way to guarantee that it would ultimately impact the outcome of the ice dancing competition, which takes place on Feb. 16 and 17 at the Iceberg Skating Palace.

Even if a deal had been made, the new scoring system, in which the marks of seven of nine judges are chosen at random with the high and low marks dropped, would make it nearly impossible to know whose scores would count.

Canada was the victim of a scandal at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, when a French judge admitted to giving a Russian pair a higher score as part of a deal that would have helped a French pair in a later competition. The Russian pair and the Canadian pair were ultimately awarded dual gold medals, and the scoring system for Olympic figure skating was overhauled.

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