ISU president must quit before sport dies

Tue May 6, 2014 3:31pm EDT
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By Patrick Johnston

(Reuters) - International Skating Union president Ottavio Cinquanta has left figure skating at its lowest ebb and must stand down from his role immediately before the sport becomes irrelevant, former double world champion Tim Wood told Reuters.

The American is part of a petition that has gained over 22,000 signatures demanding the former Italian speed skater quit the position he has held since 1994 before he damages it further with more planned changes in his final two years.

Wood, who also won a silver medal at the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, said Cinquanta has undemocratically postponed ISU elections in order to extend his stay in the position and changed the scoring system for the worse by making it confusing for the public and open to corruption.

"If changes are not sweeping and imminently forthcoming, the sport could find itself obsolete and irrelevant," Wood told Reuters this week.

"That is the imminent danger and the first person that needs to be replaced is the guy who has caused all the problems, the guy who has zero understanding of the sport, as he freely admits, and the guy who is completely responsible for the single handed dismantling of the sport... Cinquanta."

The Italian's stint in charge was due to end in June but he and his board postponed elections two years ago until 2016 which has allowed the 75-year-old to continue in office despite reaching the maximum age limit.

The ISU did not respond to requests for comment from Reuters.

Cinquanta has grand plans for his final years in power, aiming to end short programs in all figure skating events and simplify a scoring system that he changed in the wake of the 2002 Olympic judging scandal at the Salt Lake City Games.   Continued...

International Skating Union president Ottavio Cinquanta announces the
ISU's new judging system for figure skating to prevent a repeat of the
Winter Olympics judging scandal, February 18, 2002 during a news
conference in Salt Lake City.   REUTERS/Jim Bourg