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2014 Winter Olympics

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Controversy brewing heading into the ice dance free skate

 Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada wait for their score during the Figure Skating Ice Dance Short Dance on day 9 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Iceberg Skating Palace on February 16, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.
Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

It would not be figure skating without some drama and the ice dance event at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games is no exception.

The rivalry between Americans, Meryl Davis and Charlie White, and Canadians, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir is heating up as they took to the ice for their short dance yesterday, February 16, 2014. Davis and White have been sitting happily on top for almost two seasons now with Virtue and Moir hot on their trail, but even before these two teams hit the ice, the rumors began.

It was reported by the French newspaper, L’Equipe, that an anonymous coach said that the Russian Federation and U.S. Figure Skating had made a deal that would help Davis and White win gold in ice dance and Russia win both pairs and the team event. Of course all allegations were denied and the ISU reported that it would not investigate without any evidence, so for a while the rumors quieted.

But then came the short dance, where Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir put out there one of the best short dances we have seen from them all season and yet they did not break any records, they did not even break their seasons best score and in fact they received a lower level on one of their elements.

"We have to look at the tapes," Moir said to the media. "I was surprised. I thought our levels were better than in the team competition, so I have to really see it."

Virtue and Moir were given a level 3 on their Finnstep, instead of the highest level 4, which cost them one point, and with Davis and White 2.56 points ahead of them, they need every point they can get. Even their coach, Marina Zoueva, who is also Meryl Davis and Charlie White's coach, seemed a bit confused.

"They did it the best they've ever done; it was truly dance, with expression and joy," Zoueva told the media. "I didn't see any moment where I was uncomfortable. Callers and technical specialists, they have different views; they can zoom in [with replay]. In my view, Tessa and Scott's short dance was perfect from beginning to end."

The Finnish champions, Susanna Rahkamo and Pettri Kokko's, originally set the dance pattern for the Finnstep and Twitter was ablaze as Pettri Kokko (@cocco) tweeted, "Hope @Virtue_Moir wins. Americans timing off in the #finnstep and restrained even otherwise." He also tweeted,"I don't understand the judging in #icedancing. @Virtue_Moir should be leading in my honest opinion. #finnstep #Sochi2014."

It is argued that the Finnstep is judged very differently now, yet it is difficult to bury these comments along with the many other fans and those who spend hours analyzing ice dance to not think that something smells fishy about all of this. Whether it's foul play or massive confusion about the Finnstep, either way if coaches, athletes, experts and fans cannot understand it, something needs to change.

It will all come down to the free skate on February 17, and hopefully each of the dancers will skate their best and be rewarded honestly without any more controversy, though it is highly unlikely.

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