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U.S. Figure Skating refutes report of fixing ice dance result

The organization says a report by a French newspaper quoting an anonymous source is 'categorically false.'

February 08, 2014|From staff reports
  • American Meryl Davis and Charlie White perform their short dance routine as part of the team figure skating competition on Saturday at Iceberg Skating Palace.
American Meryl Davis and Charlie White perform their short dance routine… (Matthew Stockman / Getty…)

SOCHI, Russia — U.S. Figure Skating called a report it is involved in collusion to fix the ice dance result in favor of U.S. couple Meryl Davis and Charlie White "categorically false."

The French newspaper L'Equipe, quoting an anonymous Russian coach, said the United States and Russia have struck a deal that would help Davis and White win the ice dance gold and Russia win pairs and the team event.

The U.S. dancers have been in close competition with Canadian rivals Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir for five seasons. Virtue and Moir are reigning Olympic champions, Davis and White reigning world champions.

"Comments made in a L'Equipe story are categorically false," U.S. Figure Skating said in a statement. "There is no 'help' between countries. We have no further response to rumors, anonymous sources or conjecture."

International Skating Union spokesperson Selina Vanier said in an email Saturday, "The ISU does not react to allegations without evidence."

In the short dance phase of the team event Saturday night, Davis and White scored 75.98 to 72.98 for Virtue and Moir. The Canadians were penalized because Virtue made a significant mistake on one element, a form of pirouette known as a twizzle.

"The disappointment on our faces is because of our performance and not what went on with the judges," Moir said.

— Philip Hersh

Wiles on downhill team, meets Street

Saturday was a day young Jackie Wiles won't soon forget.

On the same day in Sochi, the U.S. ski team rookie racer both secured a start in next Wednesday's Olympic women's downhill and got to meet Picabo Street in the finish area.

Wiles was born in July 1992, less than two years before Street won the silver medal in downhill at the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics.

Street went on to win gold in the super-giant slalom at the 1998 Nagano Games and inspired young skiers to follow in her trails.

Wiles was one of those girls.

"I had a picture of you on my wall, obviously," Wiles told Street, who is an Alpine analyst for Fox.

Wiles had just finished fourth in Saturday's downhill training run but did not know for sure she had clinched a spot in Wednesday's race.

"This is the best skiing of my life right now," Wiles said. "It would be an amazing experience."

Later, the U.S. ski team made it official, announcing that Wiles would join Julia Mancuso, Stacey Cook and Laurenne Ross on the women's downhill team.

— Chris Dufresne

U.S. changes its bobsled pairs

No one would ever accuse the U.S. bobsled team of being predictable.

The federation surprised many Saturday when it announced that top pilot Elana Meyers would compete with sprinter-turner-brakeman Lauryn Williams. The move broke up the yearlong partnership between Meyers and Aja Evans, who won five medals together on the World Cup circuit this season.

Meyers and Williams have raced together only once, finishing second in Lake Placid in November.

By being paired with the team's best driver, Williams was afforded her best shot at becoming only the second athlete — and first woman — to win gold in both the Winter and Summer Games. The only person to accomplish this feat is Eddie Eagan, who won boxing gold in 1920 and four-man bobsled gold in 1932.

Lolo Jones, as expected, will compete in the U.S. team's third sled with pilot Jazmine Fenlator. Fenlator is ranked No. 7 in the world.

— Stacy St. Clair

Finland hockey names replacements

Finland's men's hockey team had a hard time finding replacements when standout NHL forwards Mikko Koivu of the Minnesota Wild and Valtteri Filppula of the Tampa Bay Lightning had to withdraw because of injuries.

The team's first choice as an alternate, Florida Panthers forward Sean Bergenheim, declined the invitation even though it would have been his first Olympic appearance. He told the Miami Herald he thought he'd be better off using the NHL's Olympic break to rest and undergo rehabilitation on an abdominal injury.

Finland on Saturday named Jarkko Immonen and Sakari Salminen as its replacements. Both play for Nizhny Novgorod Torpedo of Russia's Kontinental Hockey League.

— Helene Elliott

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— Helene Elliott

/strong> as its replacements. Both play for Nizhny Novgorod Torpedo of Russia's Kontinental Hockey League.

— Helene Elliott

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— Helene Elliott

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