U.S. couple accused of scamming its way to Olympics

Dominica's flag bearer, cross-country skier Gary di Silvestri, leads his national delegation during...

Dominica's flag bearer, cross-country skier Gary di Silvestri, leads his national delegation during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi. (AFP PHOTO/ANDREJ ISAKOVIC)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:50 PM ET

Gary di Silvestri and Angelica Morrone Di Silvestri, two U.S.-based cross-country skiers who represented the Caribbean island nation of Dominica at the Winter Olympics as the country's only athletes, are being accused of lying about their sporting background and buying their way into the just-concluded Sochi Games.

Sports website Deadspin.com revealed the couple live in a mountain palace in Montana and only gained citizenship through the Dominican government's "economic citizenship" application process that involves depositing $175,000 "into the appropriate account at the National Commercial Bank of Dominica."

To finalize the application process, the couple must pay $3,530 to the Ministry of Finance for fees and tariffs.

Di Silvestri, 47, is a native of Staten Island, N.Y. He was entered in the men's 15 km classic race but pulled out a few hundred metres into the race due to illness, never making it to the first checkpoint.

Morrone, 48, was born in Italy. She was to compete in the women's 10 km classic but did not show up at the start line, claiming injury.

In an interview with NBCOlympics.com, di Silvestri stated he "was a two-time state wrestling champion" and that he "rowed for a national championship team at Georgetown". According to Deadspin, both claims appear to be false as there is no record of him of him winning any state or city wrestling championships, according to Steve Meehan, a meticulous wrestling fan who has compiled all of the New York state championship meet results from 1962 to 2013.

His rowing accolades also don't stand up as the university didn't win any Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championship Regattas during his time there.

Morrone was involved in a massive scandal during the 1990s that alleged fraud in the awarding of winter sports competitions, including the Olympics.

Marc Hodler, a longtime International Olympic Committee member and an attorney in Switzerland, accused fellow committee members of selling their votes in exchange for money and gifts.

Hodler said the Italian lobby, headed by Fiat head Gianni Agnelli, was very aggressive. He was told by then-IOC head honcho Juan Antonio Samaranch that he should have kept the allegations in-house. Samaranch then publicly apologized to the Agnelli family and Fiat for any embarrassment caused.

According to a 1998 report, former president of the U.S. ski team and IOC voter Howard Peterson supported Hodler's allegations.

"Peterson said two executives -- Fiat President and CEO Vittorio C. Vellano and external relations manager Angelica DiSilvestri -- offered him two cars before the vote to decide the host city for the (1997 skiing world) championships," the wire report said.

Sestriere, Italy was eventually awarded the skiing championships. Sestriere, located in the Alps, was founded as a ski resort in the 1930s by Fiat founder Giovanni Agnelli, Gianni's dad.

Italy then used that championship experience as host to put forth a bid for the 2006 Winter Olympcs, which would then be awarded to nearby Turin, where Fiat's headquarters are.

It was unknown if Di Silvestri and Morrone attended the Sochi closing ceremonies last Sunday, or whether Dominica will celebrate their first Winter Olympians.


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