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Canadian writer asserts ice dance scores were fixed against Canadian skaters

Has Toronto Star writer Rosie DiManno gone bonkers since the announcement that Meryl Davis and Charlie White won the gold medal in ice dance? That is the first impression one may have when reading her article.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the United States celebrate at Iceberg Skating Palace on February 17, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.
Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the United States celebrate at Iceberg Skating Palace on February 17, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.
Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

The Star article starts with a flash of emotion when DiManno writes, “The villainy of ice dancing knows no bounds. Strip away the sequins, swipe off the pancake makeup, delete the frozen-in-place smiles, and what’s left is a tawdry whore of a sport where the judges are the johns.” She further asserts, “If the fix is not in against Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, then I’m the Princes of Wales.”

Ms. DiManno, in this writer’s opinion, is exhibiting bias and poor writing ethics. Fact checking is a very important part of writing any article, whether for pay or pleasure. Ms. DiManno, an Italian-Canadian, is a 35-year veteran Toronto Star columnist who was recently honored in 2012 by the Canadian Olympic Committee for “service” in covering 10 Canadian Olympic contests is described by Claire Sibonney of the Ryerson Review of Journalism as a "provocative and unpredictable bad girl” whose writing style has occasionally attracted negative international attention. The Ryerson Review is an award-winning, bi-yearly Canadian publication focusing on Canadian individuals of interest.

Just because someone suspects conspiratorial foul play does not prove it is so. DiManno mentions a French article that accused the Russians and Americans of making an agreement to boost each other’s scores – “the Americans would boost Russian scores in the inaugural team event – which, indeed, the Russians won – in return for boosting American marks in the individual ice dance competition.” We don’t know who the judges are and what countries they are from. No one has come forward with any evidence that proves an agreement was made. Furthermore, there are two sets of judges; one group ascertains that the skaters complete all requirements and the other group judges the technical aspects of the performance. Then the two scores are combined for the final results.

Are Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir exceptional skaters? Well of course they are – they have a Gold Medal from the Canadian-sponsored Olympics in Vancouver. Are Meryl Davis and Charlie White exceptional skaters? Well of course they are – they are World Champions and just won a Gold Medal at the Russian-sponsored Olympics in Sochi.

Why not wish everyone well? Everyone has their good days and bad days. The weather has not exactly been ideal, and snow and course problems abound. It’s true that the Canadian skaters had a beautiful, romantic performance. What the Star writer did was go on and on about Tessa and Scott who did skate extremely well. There was no mention the Russian's outstanding performance to the music of "Swan Lake" or the exceptional performance of the "Little Prince" by the French. DiManno also failed to mention that Meryl Davis and Charlie White had an exceptional, flawless, intense, technically difficult performance that won them the gold medal. Their 17 years of hard work and skating together has paid off.

It is a great accomplishment for these athletes to compete in Sochi, and an even greater accomplishment for those selected to be on the podium. Instead of trying to create hostile feelings and wild accusations, we should be happy for all these exceptional athletes. It’s a time to promote peace in the world, not bad feelings.

Congratulations, Meryl and Charlie!

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