When figure skaters Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir won the silver medal in ice dancing today, many were quick to ask if they had been robbed.
After earning a world record high score in the free dance portion of the competition, their U.S. rivals Meryl Davis and Charlie White scored even higher to take first place.
Virtue and Moir were gold medal winners at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, but in the lead-up to this year’s Olympics a French newspaper article quoted an anonymous Russian coach, who alleged the pair were the target of a backroom deal to ensure they would not take the gold.
Those suspicions were fuelled further on Sunday night, when judges scored the pair lower than was expected after what many considered a nearly flawless performance in their short program.
Canadians were quick to congratulate Virtue and Moir on Monday, but many speculated the two were unfairly robbed by judges.
Some compared it to what happened with Jamie Sale and David Pelletier in Salt Lake City in 2002. That incident prompted the International Skating Union to make drastic changes.
Ted Barton, a Skate Canada director who was one of six people to rewrite the judging rules, said unlike in the past, it is very difficult to cheat now.
“You can’t fix it like in the old days,” said Ted Barton, who spent four years rewriting the rules.
“Every aspect of a skater’s performance is analyzed,” added Barton. “And recorded, and detailed, and reviewed by video replay, so there’s much more detail now.”
A former ice dance Olympian and teacher wanted Virtue and Moir to win, and said while it was close, the American team were worthy gold medal winners.
“It’s not like they just came out of the blue and all of a sudden they’re Olympic champs,” said Aaron Lowe. “It’s been a dog fight for the two of them for a long time.”
“They lost today, they did lose today.”
– With files from Brian Coxford