Passions Run High As Olympics Close
Published: February 26, 2002 (Issue # 748)
I attended the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and saw first hand some of the issues raised by the Russian Olympic Committee.
I congratulate [Alexei] Yagudin and [Yevgeny] Plushchenko on their splendid performances in the men's figure-skating competition. They are very deserving of the medals they received and are to be commended.
I watched with great anticipation the ice-dancing original program, and without a doubt the Russian pair - who ultimately took silver - should have been placed first. The French pair was also talented, but in my opinion the Russian pair was superior. I did not have an opportunity to watch the free dance, and therefore cannot render my opinion.
Now on to the bigger problems. The Russian pairs figure-skating team did not deserve the gold medal. I have seen them skate before, and had they skated up to their potential on that particular day, they would have won the gold medal. But they did not. They lacked luster, their timing was off, their jumps were not perfect. The Canadians were, in my eyes, the winners.
In the women's program, Irina Slutskaya had a mediocre performance. I have seen her skate before, and she is amazing, but she was not amazing for the long program. It was almost as if she were taking for granted that she would be the winner. Sarah Hughes was not only flawless, but technically and artistically superior to Slutskaya.
Whether it is a U.S. team, Russian team, French team or otherwise, I like to see the best win.
I remember watching the Protopopovs, who are legendary, as is Oksana Baul and Viktor Petrenko. All were deserving of their medals. I wept when Baul beat Nancy Kerrigan for the gold, but she won outright. She was the best on that day.
I think the performance should be looked at and not the nationality of the skaters.
Rose Mary Rogers
From an Expert
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