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Judging The Judges As Pairs Figure Skating Begins

Russia's Maxim Trankov and Russia's Tatiana Volosozhar perform during the Figure Skating Pairs Team Short Program at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 6, 2014. (Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images)
Russia's Maxim Trankov and Russia's Tatiana Volosozhar perform during the Figure Skating Pairs Team Short Program at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 6, 2014. (Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images)

Pairs figure skating begins tonight at the Sochi Olympics. Will Russia’s Maxim Trankov and Tatiana Volosozhar restore the luster of the once-vaunted Russian figure skating program? They helped seal Russia’s gold in the team skating event this past weekend.

But one French newspaper is alleging that event was fixed, bringing back memories of the judging scandal at the 2002 Games in Salt Lake, when a French judge made a deal with the Russians. Canadian pairs team Jamie Sale and David Pelletier lost the gold to the Russian pairs team.

That scandal did away with the old judging system in which a 6.0 was a perfect score. But since then, the sport’s cumulative points scoring system has been just plain hard for the average person to understand — and some say it’s just as flawed.

Chicago Tribune Olympics specialistPhilip Hersh joins Here & Now’s Robin Young to discuss the allegations.

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