Skating judge blames media and officials

Friday, March 8, 2002

PARIS -- The French judge at the center of the Winter Olympics' skating scandal said Thursday she was trapped by international officials and the news media into falsely accusing her national federation of pressuring her.

Speaking at her first news conference since voting for the Russians in the pairs' competition in Salt Lake City, Marie-Reine Le Gougne again defended her vote and said she was one of the best judges in the world.

"I found myself in a trap," Le Gougne said at the headquarters of the French skating federation, with federation president Didier Gailhaguet at her side. "They made me say what they wanted me to say."

Calling on the International Skating Union to reinstate her, Le Gougne described herself as "one of the most competent judges in the world."

The ISU indefinitely suspended Le Gougne for misconduct four days after the pairs' free program.

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