Deja vu all over again -- 1980 & 2002
Some interesting facts I found out while looking up something else.
The first Skate America (1979) was officially called Falling Leaves Norton Skate. The Falling Leaves Festival is an annual Octorberfest put on by the town of Lake Placid. The Norton Company is a worldwide producer of abrasive products, like sanding belts and wire brushes. Nowadays they are the primary sponsor of the sport of luge in the United States. The purpose of the event was to try out the facilities in preparation for the 1980 Olympics.
The winners at Norton Skate in dance were the Hungarian team of Krisztina Regoeczy & Andras Sallay. At the subsequent Olympics, the other top team were the reigning world champions, Natalia Linichuk & Gennadi Karponosov. Both teams skated well, Karponsarov having a slight bobble. When the judges scores came down there were four first-place ordinals for Linichuk and Karponosov and four-first place ordinals for Regoeczy and Salley. The ninth judge, from Great Britain, scored it a tie, in apparent disregard of the rule that says you can’t score it a tie.
When confronted by the referee, the errant judge burst into tears and tried to explain that she meant to vote for the Hungarians in the free dance but put the numbers in the wrong column and accidentally voted for the Russian team instead, in that part of the competition, making it a tie overall. (I guess they didn’t have factored placements back then?)
So anyway, under the “majority of ordinals” system, it then came down to who had the most first- + second-place ordinals combined. Obviously it was still going to be a tie, because every judge put the two teams in first and second in one order or the other. Except the Russian judge, who put Linichuk and Karponosov first, the second Russian team second, and the Hungarians third.
So Linichuk and Karponosov became Olympic champions.
This saved the IOC from having to issue duplicate gold medals, which would have been silly.
I didn't know this much detail. It's been a while since I saw the performances. I know the crowd favored the Hungarians. So just like the crowd favored the non-Russian pair in 2002 they did in 1980. Both teams would go to the world championships where the Hungarians won. Of course by 2002 the USSR no longer existed and the Russians retired like the Canadians but otherwise it would have been interesting to see what happened at the 2002 world championships if both teams went! That wasn't going to happen and in 1980 the controversy wasn't that big! Though it was big enough to tip the scales in favor of the Hungarians in the skating world- though if not for the mistake they would have won the Olympics. They won the free dance but not by a big enough margin to win overall.
Last edited by gmyers; 05-10-2011 at 12:52 AM.
I loved Regocy and Sallay and was very sorry when they didn't win. I didn't realize it was so close! What a distressing reason for them not to win--some poor judge's technological butterfingers. They won the world championships immediately afterward, though. And it's not as if Linichuk and Karponosov were just a set of "interchangeable parts" Soviet ice dancers. They became premier coaches. So their win was reflective of their merits as skaters and their devotion to the field, at least.
As for the Hungarians, an article on the IFS site says that Krisztina coached for some time in the U.S. and is high up in the ISU currently. Sallay went into the business world.