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So, the Canadians have their gold medals. The sharing of the gold, between them and the Russians who were originally awarded it, seems to me to be the only tenable outcome of this whole affair — at least as far as these participants go. It will be much more interesting to see what changes are made in the future regarding the judging of figure skating, which has for years been dominated by croneyism, log-rolling, and mutual-back-scratching. As for the actual skaters involved in this dispute, the Russians should not be stripped of their medals as they had nothing at all to do with the backroom-dealing that evidently resulted in their being awarded in the first place. It is bad enough that, for all time, when one looks up the results of the 2002 Winter Olympics competition in Pairs Figure Skating in some almanac, one will find two asterisked pairs. An accomplishment accompanied by an asterisk is somehow tainted, requiring as it does the inevitable explanation of the abnormal circumstances that give rise to the imposition of the asterisk in the first place. Sale and Pelletier are happy now, and they always will be, but I can’t help but wonder if they won’t always feel that on some level their medal experience isn’t as special as it should be. They didn’t get to hear “O Canada” whilst standing on the top level of the podium; instead they got five days of grueling interviews, statements, and finally a press conference. As for the Russians, they will forever endure the widespread belief that their medals weren’t really earned. The asterisk next to the 2002 entry in the future World Almanacs will loom large. An asterisk is not an insignificant punctuation mark. Just ask Roger Maris.

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