Americans dismiss reports of judging conspiracy

Sat Feb 8, 2014 2:46pm EST
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By Pritha Sarkar

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - U.S. Figure Skating has strongly denied reports suggesting the United States and Russia are conspiring to help each other win gold medals at the Sochi Olympics.

"Comments made in a L'Equipe story are categorically false," the American governing body said in a statement on Saturday.

"There is no 'help' between countries. We have no further response to rumors, anonymous sources or conjecture."

U.S. media picked up on the report, saying the arrangement would help Meryl Davis and Charlie White to become the first Americans to win the Olympic ice dance gold, while Russia in return would benefit in the team and pairs competitions.

The original report also alluded to the fact that the arrangement was made so Davis and White were guaranteed to beat Canadian rivals and 2010 Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, with whom they share a coach in Marina Zoueva.

Such an arrangement would seem to make little sense, though, as Russia are strong contenders for the team title, boasting strong performers in all four disciplines. Davis and White are favorites for the ice dance gold, given they have not been beaten for almost two years.

Twice world champion Davis shrugged her shoulders when she was made aware of the allegations, after she and White topped the standings in the ice dance segment of the team competition.

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

Meryl Davis (L) and Charlie White of the U.S. compete during the figure skating team ice dance short dance at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, February 8, 2014. REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk