Russians furious over ’fix’ slur

Russian officials on Sunday angrily denied a report that they were colluding with the Americans to help each other win figure skating gold at the Sochi Olympics.

It follows a story in French newspaper L’Equipe quoting an unnamed Russian coach saying there was a deal between the two former Cold War foes.

The deal allegedly would help Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White beat Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir to gold in ice dancing while Russia would win the team and pairs competitions.

‘‘This is rubbish and chatter,’’ said the director general of the Russian figure skating federation Valentin Piseyev, quoted by the R-Sport state sports news agency.

‘‘If they have proof then present it and don’t just talk. We already went through this in Salt Lake City (2002 Games) and if someone wants to make a champion through means other than skating and through pressure in the press then that is not going to happen.’’

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko added: ‘‘There is no point in commenting on such rubbish.’’

International skating body the ISU later said in a statement they do not ‘‘react to rumours or allegations without evidence’’.

‘‘Based on credible and verifiable evidence, the ISU has always pursued cases of misconduct or other violations of the ISU statues,’’ it added.

US and Canadian figure skating officials also dismissed the report on Saturday.

‘‘Comments made in a L’Equipe story are categorically false,’’ US Figure Skating said in a statement.

‘‘There is no ’help’ between countries. We have no further response to rumours, anonymous sources or conjecture.’’

Davis and White said they had not heard about the story after they won the team short dance on Saturday with a score of 75.98, with Olympic champions Virtue and Moir second (72.98).

‘‘I think we’re confident that what we’re putting out on the ice speaks for itself,’’ said Davis.

Virtue and Moir blamed themselves for their score.

There has been an ongoing rivalry between the two couples, who train together under Russian coach Marina Zoueva in Detroit, going back to their junior skating days.

Two-time world champions Virtue and Moir were runners-up to the Americans at both the world championships last year and in the Grand Prix Final in December.

The current scoring system was introduced after the 2002 Olympic judging scandal when a French judge said she had been pressured to vote for a Russian pairs team over Canadians Jamie Sale and David Pelletier.

The Canadians were later awarded a second gold medal.

The new team event concludes in Sochi on Sunday, with Russia leading Canada and the United States.


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