Rivals, U.S. press question Virtue-Moir gold

By QMI Agency


Canada's Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are being hit hard by the critics who claim the duo didn't deserve gold. (REUTERS/Jerry Lampen)

A wildly pro-Canadian crowd may have affected the Olympic ice-dance judges and helped Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir strike gold Monday night, a U.S. newspaper says.

In an article published Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times questioned the six-point gap that separated the Canadian winners from American silver medallists Charlie White and Meryl Davis and suggested the judges may have been swayed by the cheering Canucks in attendance.

"Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir won the gold medal because they were beautiful, and precise, and in the right place at the right time," the Times wrote. "The Pacific Coliseum was packed with hungry, screaming Canadian fans still hurting from Sunday's hockey loss to the U.S.

"The judging table was filled with human beings who, despite positive changes in the scoring system, are still among the most subjective arbiters in sports.

"Were Virtue and Moir the better skaters? Perhaps. But there is no way they were six points better. Yet on this night, unless the pair fell through a crack in the ice and turned this into synchronized swimming, there was no way they were going to lose."

The Times also criticized the Vancouver crowd for cheering "as if this were another hockey game" but falling silent during the U.S. performance.

"Then the Americans took the ice as the first of the final group and somebody hit mute. As Davis and White wonderfully danced to The Phantom of The Opera, the crowd acted as if they were wearing a mask with one half of their face covered."

Yahoo Sports also quoted Italian ice dancer Massimo Scali, who criticized the Canadian winners.

"When you compete in your home country the crowd goes crazy and it can help the skaters. I hope that it does not affect the judges," he is quoted as saying.

"I don't agree with the system. They (Virtue and Moir) are not real dancers. They are very technical and don't really 'dance' on the ice."

POLL