American Olympic-level figure skating judge Joe Inman has been sending out emails in recent weeks to 60 skating judges and officials singling out possibly unjustified high program components scores to Russian Evgeny Plushenko (it is unclear from the below article whether he mentioned Brian Joubert as well, but the French press has seized on the story as well). Inman could surely not have thought that these emails could have been sent without repercussions. And the backlash has begun! There is now concern that there is a North American lobby that will be anti Plushenko and Joubert. Per The Globe and Mail:
Joe Inman, a veteran Olympic-level skating judge, acknowledged yesterday that in recent weeks he sent e-mails to 60 judges and officials - some of whom are likely to be involved with the Vancouver Games - reminding them to mark presentation scores accurately.
Mr. Inman sent the e-mails after he heard that Mr. Plushenko, the defending Olympic champion from Russia, was quoted in an interview, saying: "If the judges want someone to place high, they can arrange it. Like in Tallinn [in Estonia at the European championships last month] Brian Joubert got more points for his transitions than me, although we did exactly the same transitions on the ice.
In fact, we don't have any transitions because we focus on our jumps."
Transitions are part of the presentation mark in figure skating's new judging system, which deems that transitional moves linking elements together make skating more difficult and should therefore be worth more marks.
Haha, I love Plushenko. He is so blunt and basically dares the judges not to score him so high, and yet he knows they will.
According to the article, Inman's emails cited Plushenko's quotes and questioned the judges' scores for him.
Of course, French skating federation president Didier Gailhuaget is up in arms about this "North American lobby." You may remember Gailhuaget from his role in the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics scoring scandal. He was the French federation president back then and his chauffeur testified that he had overheard conversations implicating Gailhuaget in the scandal. Gailhuaget was suspended from International Skating Union events for three years. So, in short, his speaking out on this is kind of a joke.
Inman says his emails were meant to be used as teaching tools and he's surprised at how his remarks are being twisted as hostile to the Europeans. Just a few reasons these emails were BAD IDEAS:
-if the emails were merely teaching tools, he might as well have waited until after the Olympics so that he could avoid any appearance of controversy
-if the emails meant to influence judges into not giving such high scores to Plushenko and Joubert, then that's misguided at the very least, if not unethical. Who is Inman to think he is the first person to point out to these judges that Plushenko and Joubert have lame transitions? They can see it - we all can see it, including Plushy, obvs. They are just not letting that get in the way of "judging," heh.
-Now if Plushenko or Joubert finish off the medal podium, we have to hear about how the "fix was in" from the North American lobby. And since scoring is anonymous, we won't be able to disprove that. So...another loss for figure skating overall.
The article notes that Inman is not a judge at the Olympics.
I will leave you with some remarks from 2002 Olympic pairs gold medalist Jamie Sale, regarding Plushenko:
"He was just throwing his arms up in circles all the time," Ms. Salé said. "There's nothing there. ... That's not skating. There's no edges. There's nothing to his program."
Considering his quote, Plushenko agrees. I wonder if he was just being sarcastic though? It's so hard to tell from the quotes.