TERENCE SMITH: For more we're joined by Mark Lund, publisher of International Figure Skating, a magazine covering the industry and Tom Goldman, sports correspondent for National Public Radio. Welcome to you both. Tom Goldman, 24 hours ago the skating officials were stonewalling on this saying they would deal with this next week. Yet today in an hour or two, it was done. What happened to make them move so quickly?
TOM GOLDMAN: We have to assume that this may actually be an indication of the new IOC under IOC President Jacques Rogge. Jacques Rogge came out yesterday and released a letter and said we would really like you to wrap this up before Monday. The International Skating Union had a meeting planned for Monday and they planed to stick to that but Jacques Rogge met with Mr. Cinquanta and lo and behold there was a resolution. We have to assume this may perhaps indicate a new more responsive IOC. You have Jacques Rogge living in the athletes village with the athletes and now you have a decision that perhaps with the old regime works not have happened so quickly.
TERENCE SMITH: Mr. Cinquanta suggested that maybe public pressure played a role in moving this along.
TOM GOLDMAN: Public pressure I believe had a very major role. The international Olympic Committee was besieged by letters and e-mails of protests. Interestingly, corporate sponsors got e-mails of protest. Corporate sponsors are very important to the Olympic movement. So while President Rogge downplayed the public pressure, I believe it did have an impact. As I said, I believe we're dealing with an IOC President now who is more responsive to that kind of pressure. They have a very high powered public relations firm that has been helping the IOC since the bribery scandal broke, and perhaps they were getting the word out that we need to resolve this quickly so we can get on with our Olympic games.
TERENCE SMITH: Tom, at the news conference today, Mr. Cinquanta declined to say who pressured whom and to what end. Can you say? Is it clear?
TOM GOLDMAN: We don't know yet. The one thing that he did say that gives us hope that we will find out more is that the investigation is ongoing. What they said was today we need to deal with the matter at hand and they did very swiftly. The investigation is ongoing. So we do not know if other judges were involved. We don't know the details of the misconduct of the French judge. We don't know if there was pressure put on her to act a certain way, to vote a certain way. And if there was pressure, where that pressure was coming from.
TERENCE SMITH: Mark Lund, as somebody who follows figure skate, what did you think of this drama as it played itself out today?
MARK LUND: Well, the ISU has certain rules and regulations they have to follow. They're notoriously being known for not being fast enough in making decisions. It is rather unprecedented they made the decision as soon as they did. Clearly they felt the pressure from the IOC and the public at large. T
ERENCE SMITH: This idea to award what is, in effect, a duplicate gold, it's been done before but that's unusual and quite a step for them to take.
MARK LUND: It has been done before in other sports but not in figure skating, specifically not for the International Skating Union. It is very unprecedented. There is nothing in the rulebook that even allows them to do this. So they're certainly in new uncharted territory but it was the best decision they could have made and in my viewpoint the only decision they could have made.
TERENCE SMITH: And going back to that point that Tom was talking about as to who pressured whom, are the Russians implicated any way?
MARK LUND: You know, they're not publicly implicated but our sources tell us that they are directly involved. I'm certain that the French Federation pressured this judge to vote for the Russian pair team. These judges do not act alone. They act on decisions or motivation from their member federation. We must remember the French Federation does not have a French judge on the ice dancing panel, and they're relying on other countries to assist and/or prop up their own French ice dance team later on this week.
TERENCE SMITH: That actually comes even this evening.
MARK LUND: Absolutely.
TERENCE SMITH: Alexander Zulin, a former Russian medallist who is now a U.S. skating coach was quoted today in the "Washington Post" as saying that everybody does this sort of pressuring, even the Canadians - I mean, is this figure skating's dirty little secret?
MARK LUND: It is. It has been figure skating's dirty secret for years if not decades. This has gone on in the sport. Everything happens for a reason this. And this scandal has brought a new light to our sport and to the way that judging is conducted. I think now with this precedent-setting decision that Ottavio Cinquanta and Dr. Jacques Rogge made with the IOC will just further the thought that any country that wanted to try and do vote swapping is only going to be found out -- their judges are going to be thrown out of the ISU system and there's probably going to be thought now to bringing in the marks of the tenth or substitute judge.
TERENCE SMITH: If this goes on all the time, Mark, why should we take any of it seriously?
MARK LUND: Well, you know, the problem with figure skating judging is that it is judged subjectively; it's not judged by a stopwatch. They've gone through many reforms since 1998 -- the scandal at Nagano regarding the ice dancing competition where they're really trying to bring legitimacy to judging. There are a lot of good judges in the ISU system. It is unfortunate that this particular incident has cast a bad light on all the judges that worked for decades to perfect their craft at being professional judges but it is important to note, these are all volunteers; they're not paid professionals.
TERENCE SMITH: Tom Goldman, you mentioned the investigation is going to continue. How, where, what do we expect to see next?
TOM GOLDMAN: Well, we don't know the details of that. The ISU, I am assuming, will continue with their meeting, which was scheduled for the 18th. We just haven't gotten details. But Mr. Cinquanta said that he wants to continue with the investigation. We don't know what will be going on there. What he did say though is that he would-- he has been thinking for sometime of coming up with a system that would help guarantee that we, perhaps, would not have these incidents. But he also pointed out that nothing is 100% certain when you're dealing with the subjectivity of judges. And that's true in ice skating; that's true in boxing; that's true in any judge competition. As long as there is not going to be a stop watch or a finish line for skaters to go over, these things will come up.
TERENCE SMITH: Are the skating officials telling you, Tom, that they will reveal all once they've done this investigation? Will it be made public? Who said what to whom and so forth?
TOM GOLDMAN: We are hoping so. I'll tell you, there are thousands of journalists here. And it is going to be hard to keep things secret too much. And as I mentioned before, having an IOC President who seems responsive and who understands the importance of getting information out, I'm assuming we will be getting further information by the end of the games.
TERENCE SMITH: Mark Lund, now that this has come out, do you think it's possible or likely that skating officials will go back and look at previous medals that might have been disputed in previous Olympics?
MARK LUND: Yes. There's already been some limited discussion of that already. President Cinquanta has made it clear that this decision affects only this event and perhaps events going forward, not for past championships. He really has opened the Pandora's box, if you will on past championships. I have a feeling this is not the end of this particular situation.
TERENCE SMITH: Mark Lund, Tom Goldman, thank you both very much.