Q&A: Tara Lipinski on Olympics docuseries concerning the 2002 determine skating scandal that modified the game

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Q&A: Tara Lipinski on Olympics docuseries concerning the 2002 determine skating scandal that modified the game



Again within the 2002 Salt Lake Metropolis Winter Olympics, the determine skating world was shaken up after allegations surfaced that judging within the pairs determine skating competitors had been fastened.
Followers knew the competitors would doubtless come all the way down to Canada’s Jamie Salé and David Pelletier or Russia’s Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze. However after their respective performances have been full and Berezhnaya and Sikharulidze have been awarded the gold medal, questions concerning the judging started to come up after many believed the Canadian pair deserved to be Olympic champions.
Meddling, a four-part docuseries from Peacock, offers an in-depth have a look at the scandal, the 4 athletes concerned and the decide, Marie-Reine Le Gougne, in the course of it. Finally, Salé and Pelletier have been additionally awarded gold medals, and the decide was suspended.
Govt producer and 1998 Olympic determine skating gold medalist Tara Lipinski teamed up along with her husband, Todd Kapostasy, who’s additionally an govt producer and the docuseries’ director, to offer a deep look into the scandal.

For The Win not too long ago spoke with Lipinski about why she needed to inform this story and the way its influence on the determine skating world remains to be felt.
This interview has been condensed and edited for readability.

Tara Lipinski: After we pitched this concept, I feel we each have been actually into it as a result of it’s been 20 years since this occasion occurred. I assumed: “Properly, has there been a deep dive? Has there been a extremely complete have a look at what occurred that fateful night time in determine skating the place the game utterly modified in that second?”
And we realized there hadn’t been, and we thought that with 20 years’ perspective that everybody concerned would have a extremely distinctive look and tackle what occurred and the way it’s impacted their lives, or the way it’s nonetheless impacting their lives, which it’s in lots of circumstances.
However I simply knew that this was a narrative that I needed to inform, and I feel it was essential to inform as a result of, on the time, I feel this occasion tarnished determine skating. I feel it led followers away from the game, as an alternative of to it, as a result of who desires to tune in to a contest that is likely to be rigged? I feel it’s essential to inform the story. It’s a part of the historical past of skating, however it was additionally a pivotal level in our sport the place now issues have modified. We have now a brand new judging system due to it. It’s most likely the one good factor that got here out of it.
Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze on the 2002 Winter Olympics. (AP Photograph/Lionle Cironneau)

TL: I skated on this time when this was taking place within the ’90s and somewhat bit earlier than, however nonetheless, the game has been battling its subjective nature from the beginning. And I used to be so younger, I knew that there have been politics. I knew typically you’d exit and skate nice, and another person would fall however they’d nonetheless win. And it was one thing that you simply didn’t actually query. You simply mentioned, “Oh, let’s determine skating.”
And I feel my mother and father shielded me as a lot as they might from figuring out all of it. However going by means of this journey, it made me actually notice how unhappy it was for therefore many opponents that skated underneath the outdated, what we name, the 6.0 system. That many occasions, the most effective skater didn’t win. Sure, typically, however not on a regular basis.
Jamie Salé and David Pelletier on the 2002 Winter Olympics. (Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY)

TL: I’ll break it down for you. Again within the day, it was the 6.0 system. So a decide would sit there [and] don’t have any standards that wanted to be met. No bullet factors on the technical side of the game or the creative side of the game. It was simply who you most popular in that second. And they’d toss up a 5.8 or a 5.9 or 6.0, and that may change somebody’s life without end.
Whereas now, due to that scandal, all the things has been modified. Each single transfer, virtually each step a skater takes now — not simply the jumps or not simply the artistry of our sport, however each step is accounted for. So it is rather technical now. And thank goodness. Thank goodness this has occurred, and it wasn’t swept underneath the rug. And I feel we’re fortunate that this occurred in the USA at an Olympic Video games as a result of we don’t know if it occurred some other place, if the media consideration or the outrage would have been the identical and had the identical influence.

Tara Lipinski throughout the 1998 Olympics. (Karen Pike Riesner, USA TODAY)
TL: It might have been devastating. And I feel that was my largest takeaway after interviewing all 4 skaters, is that I had my Olympic expertise. The toughest half is doing all of your job, is competing underneath that immense quantity of stress. And while you do do it, the aid you are feeling is nearly blissful. After which all the things else from that second the music stops is icing on the cake: The viewers, the sitting within the kiss and cry, seeing the marks go up, successful the Olympics, stepping onto the rostrum, your nationwide anthem after which having the ability to soak in and benefit from the win after.
And I all the time thought how tough it might be. However going by means of these interviews with these 4 skaters and having them recall these recollections, it was painful as a result of I lived it. And I noticed all 4 of those skaters have been cheated out of an Olympic second. It doesn’t matter that there have been two gold medals, they usually’re each referred to as Olympic champions [now]. All of them really feel they’ll by no means get that Olympic expertise again, and that’s unhappy.

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