Didier promises to break World record; Florent Amodio unrepentant about breaking rules

by Alexandra Stevenson

In the reception to promote next yearís World championships in Nice, which took place on Friday morning in Moscow at the officials hotel next to the MegaSport Arena, Didier Gailhaguet, long-time President of the French Skating Federation, jokingly promised to set a World record. "In 2000, we set a record for the shortest time for putting together a replacement world championship. We did it in five months." (The championships had been awarded to Brisbane, but a problem arose with the Australian host broadcaster who had contracted to provide the world feed.)

Gailhaguet, who remains head of the French Association despite the ISU banning him for several years because of his Associationís perceived part in the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic judging scandal, said, "Now Moscow has broken our record. We want it back so we will stop work on all the plans for Nice to show we can put it together in only 15 days."

Florent Amodio, the French European Champion, who attended the reception, and his coach Nikolai Morosov, are unrepentant about breaking the rules. The talented 20-year-old and his Russian coach told French newspaper reporters that they were worried a little about the singing in the Michael Jackson music but decided to continue with the illegal situation "because the audience likes it" and in Bern the judges didnít seem to notice anything amiss.

In Gothenburg in the 2008 Worlds, Amodioís current teammate, Brian Joubert, who also attended the reception, had been hit with a deduction for a much less noticeable flaunting of this rule. Joubert, who finished second to Jeffrey Buttle of Canada, in that event, said, "I had the same program all season and only here (in Sweden) the officials noticed. But it was only a point deduction and it didnít change the result."

The judges now have two buttons on their computers, one to press if they think the costume is immodest and another to push if the music is inappropriate. If a majority of them press the button, then there is a deduction. But they appear to have deliberately ignored that duty.

Morosov told Russian press that since Amodio had no chance of a medal after placing fifth in the SP, they werenít worried about a deduction. He believed that the vocal added to the audience appeal of the music and also helped give Amodio inspiration and energy.

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