Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Russia Latest Whine Country, Thanks to IOC

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Russia Latest Whine Country, Thanks to IOC

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Woods, Times-Union sports columnist

SALT LAKE CITY -- And to think we were getting along so well with the Russians.

If you had been putting together a list of countries we disliked, Russia wouldn't even have made the top 10.

I mean, it gave us vodka and Anna Kournikova.

We like the Russians.

Or at least we did.

Just when it looked like it was going to be hard to muster much emotion for last night's U.S.-Russia hockey game -- our millionaires against your millionaires! -- Russian Olympic Committee president Leonid Tyagachev called a news conference.

On the eve of the game, he and nine other members of the Russian delegation called the judging here "disgusting" and "malicious." They said they were the subject of a "witch hunt." They threatened to not show up at the hockey arena, to pull out of the Games, to pack their bags and head home.

"There is a limit to everybody's patience," Tyagachev said.

It was as if they were pulling a Bobby Knight, working the refs, trying to make sure to get the last-minute calls. International Olympic Committee officials shrugged it off, saying it was the heat-of-the moment frustration. Let them sleep on it, they said.

The Russians did. And then they woke up and filed another protest.

They say that Irina Slutskaya was robbed Thursday night at the Delta Center when 16-year-old American Sarah Hughes jumped from fourth to first. They also, I believe, say that Sonja Henie doesn't deserve that gold she won at St. Moritz in 1928. Or something like that.

I apologize. It's hard to keep track of the protests and lawsuits.

Russians, Koreans, Lithuanians. Take a number.

Not that I blame any of them.

I blame the IOC.

This all goes back to what happened on Feb. 15, when four days after the Russians won the gold in pairs figure skating, the IOC announced it was making another one for the Canadians. …

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