Americans unruffled by 'laughable' allegations

Sun Feb 9, 2014 5:51am EST
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By Pritha Sarkar

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Meryl Davis and Charlie White did not lose sleep over what U.S. Figure Skating called "laughable" allegations suggesting the United States and Russia had brokered a deal to help each other win gold medals at the Sochi Olympics.

"There was an anonymous report citing an unnamed source that there was some kind of collusion between America and Russia regarding the ice dancing competition," U.S. Figure Skating spokesperson Barbara Reichert told reporters on Sunday, a day after the report first surfaced.

"U.S. Figure Skating never has and would not a deal with anyone. Our ice dancers are two-times world champions, they have won five Grand Prix finals in a row.

"You saw them last night and they were excellent. There are always excellent. They put in the work. Meryl and Charlie are the standard bearers of excellence. For that kind of report to come out was not only disconcerting but unfortunate to the sport.

"It was laughable, a story like that is just putting the sport in bad light."

The original report, in French sports newspaper L'Equipe, said the arrangement would help Davis and 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.

It also alluded that the deal was made so that 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 a pact would seem to make little sense, though, as Russia are leading contenders for the team title, boasting strong performers in all four disciplines. Davis and White are favourites for the ice dance gold, given they have not been beaten for almost two years.   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