SKATING OFFICIAL BREAKS SPORT'S CODE OF SILENCE IN NEW BOOK
Ice: Figure Skating's Inner World,
for release in mid-November, is the first book written by someone from the
secretive inner circles of Olympic-level figure skating officials and rule
makers. Bianchetti, who was a judge
or referee at seven consecutive Olympic Games, serve
on the powerful ISU Council.
Ice, she describes an organization in which officials are
punished for speaking out or even proposing a vote, minutes of meetings are
changed after the fact, Council members learn of decisions for the first time
from journalists seeking quotes, and corrupt judges are given slaps on the wrist
and routinely reassigned to panels. The
ISU leadership has been so ,
Bianchetti writes, that the ISU did not even appoint a treasurer to check the
finances until 1992 or a legal advisor to check contracts routinely until 1994.
her time as chairperson of the ISU Figure Skating Technical Committee,
Bianchetti was instrumental in bringing figure skating into the modern era.
compulsory figures from competition, invented international training seminars
for the judges and wrote the judges' handbooks, and constructed the scoring
system for the short program. She
was renowned for her incisive mind and her strong will.
In 1977, when she found that the Soviet federation was instructing its
judges to favor Soviet skaters, the entire federation was suspended for a year
upon her proposal.
skating is living through a very crucial moment. During
the last decade, in the ISU governing body and some of its Members, politics
have seemed to prevail over the interests of the sport and the athletes,"
said Bianchetti. "As in a
regime, freedom of expression is denied; no kind of dissent, even if
constructive, is tolerated, be it from judges, competitors, coaches or ISU
officials. The scandal in the pair
skating event at the 2002 Olympic Games in
of a sudden, the efforts made through the years by many sincerely devoted ISU
office holders to improve the sport and the way it was judged simply
vanished," Bianchetti continued. "I
then felt it was a moral duty towards the skaters, the honest judges (who are
the large majority), the coaches and all those who love the sport to come
forward and make public my experience as an ISU
introductions or cover quotes from Olympic champion Dick Button, Olympic
champion coach Tamara Moskvina, Olympic champion
coach Tatiana Tarasova, Olympic champions Oleg and Ludmila
Protopopov, Olympic champion Robin Cousins, world
champion Brian Orser, and Australian figure skating
president Donald McKnight.
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