We\'re sittin\' on the fence

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:17 AM ET

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Kurt Browning and the pairs team of Jamie Sale & David Pelletier, who were caught in the middle of last year\'s Olympic judging scandal in Salt Lake, are gung-ho go for the World Skating Federation to take the sport and separate from the International Skating Union under Ottavio Cinquanta.

But Skate Canada CEO Pam Coburn has one skate on either side of the figure skating fence.

\"Out of all of this, something great is going to happen,\'\' said Coburn. \"Everything is on the table and it\'s about time.\'\'

EVERY INDICATION

But every indication from what she said was that Canada wished to bring about reform within the ISU, not break away to join the WSF.

Coburn says the good news is that this World Figure Skating Championship isn\'t being held in Canada.

\"Thank God it\'s not our event,\'\' she said of the focus which is going to have a hard time finding the skaters for the rest of the event, with a fans protest planned Friday, Cinquanta set to deliver a state of the union address Saturday, added to the fear of the event being a target for terrorism since it\'s in Washington, D.C. Then throw in the war in Iraq.

She said she needs more information on the new federation to speak about it properly.

\"Once the event is over we\'ll find out about it.

\'\'We are open to anything which will improve the state and credibility of figure skating.\'\'

She says the secret judging rules being used here this year \"are a no starter\'\' with Canada for the future.

She admits \"we have a problem with judges being influenced by outside pressures. It is a problem.\'\'

Coburn however isn\'t on the anti-Cinquanta firing squad. In fact she went out of her way here yesterday to give credit to the much-maligned ISU boss.

And she and what used to be the Canadian Figure Skating Association are strong supporters of the new computer-oriented, push-button scoring system which the ISU is trying to push through to be used next year.

Viewed by the WSF as \"a clean shirt on a dirty body\'\' and that \"the scoring system isn\'t the problem, it\'s the people scoring\'\' Coburn says Canadians have put a lot into developing the system with the ISU.

\"We\'re not interested in the current rules of judging,\'\' she said.

While Skate Canada did not rush to endorse the WSF, Canadians have been involved in setting up the new federation, including founding member Jane Garden, who is an ISU judge in singles and pairs.

Olympic and world champions Sale & Pelletier and four-time world champion Kurt Browning, from Caroline, spoke to the press conference on video and say the time has come.

\"It\'s about the athlete,\'\' said Sale. \"The time is now. There is no time to waste.\'\'

SO MANY CHANCES

\"The ISU has had so many chances to fix what needs to be fixed and hasn\'t done it. We need zero tolerance in the judging system,\'\' said Pelletier.

\"Let\'s find the good judges and empower them,\'\' said Browning who said he couldn\'t advise his son to go into a sport where you \"didn\'t have a chance for a fair chance.

\"I\'d like to go to a gas station after an event and have somebody say \'that was cool\' instead of \'what was that with the judging?\'

\"It\'s time for a change,\'\' said Browning. \"I want to be one of those people bringing on the change.\'\'


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