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Skating Hearing Called 'Intense'

April 30, 2002|From Associated Press

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Before the International Skating Union began a nine-hour hearing into the Olympic figure skating scandal Monday, the French judge at the center of the dispute complained she was the victim of "a one-way hearing, an organized massacre."

The skating judge, Marie-Reine Le Gougne, declined to comment after coming out of the hearing room, but in an interview in Monday's edition of the French sports paper L'Equipe, she claimed the case was stacked against her. One of her attorneys described the opening session of the two-day, closed-door hearings as "intense."

Le Gougne and French skating boss Didier Gailhaguet were called before the council to answer charges they manipulated the result of the pairs competition at the Salt Lake Games.

Le Gougne was suspended indefinitely by the ISU for alleged misconduct after initially declaring she was instructed by Gailhaguet to vote for the victorious Russian pair ahead of the Canadians, who were later awarded duplicate gold medals.

Le Gougne retracted the accusation against Gailhaguet, saying she was in emotional distress at the time and had been harassed by ISU officials into making false claims against him. Gailhaguet has denied any wrongdoing.

Ottavio Cinquanta, the ISU president, said he expected a verdict tonight and hoped the hearings will prevent further scandals and spur reforms.

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