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Posted: February 09, 2014

French paper says U.S., Russian skaters in cahoots

Stock image via Getty Images

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            French paper says U.S., Russian skaters in cahoots
Stock image via Getty Images

By Jake Godin

Here's an odd alliance – Russia and the United States are being accused of teaming up to win each other gold medals in figure skating at the Winter Olympics. 

According to the French sporting daily L'Equipe, an unidentified Russian coach says that the US has agreed to help Russia win the pairs and team event if Russia helps US ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White win gold in their event. 

If such a deal were actually struck, the team with the most to lose would be Canadian ice dancing duo Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir — Davis and White's biggest competition.

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The accusations by L'Equipe don't seem to bother the Canadians though, with Moir saying "The best thing about being an athlete at the Olympic Games is that's none of our concern" and Virtue saying "That's sort of out of our control. We have to take care of our job on the ice and focus on the task at hand." 

When confronted about the article, Canadian figure skating officials came off just as laid-back saying, "Canada is confident that the results of competition will be determined where they should be, on the ice." (Via The Toronoto Sun)

It's nice that the athletes aren't bothered by the article, but is there any truth to the accusations? Unsurprisingly, the U.S. Figure Skating Association says no.

In a statement quoted by Bleacher Report, the association said "Comments made in a L’Equipe story are categorically false. There is no 'help' between countries. We have no further response to rumors, anonymous sources or conjecture."

John Powers, a writer at the Boston Globe, has a hard time believing a deal would even be that beneficial to the two teams saying, "Even if a deal had been made, the new scoring system, in which the marks of seven of nine judges are chosen at random with the high and low marks dropped, would make it nearly impossible to know whose scores would count."

Russian figure skating officials and athletes have yet to comment on the allegations. L'Equipe is the same publication that brought cyclist Lance Armstrong's alleged doping to light in 2005.

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