Law Says: Judges Judy, Mills Lane could aid in skating controversy

So far, the 2002 Winter Olympics have been dominated by one thing. It is not some shocking upset or amazing come-from-behind victory. It, unfortunately, has more to do with corruption than it does with sports.

It is "Skategate."

For those of you who do not know the story, here is a quick synopsis. Russia has been superior in Olympic pairs figure skating for decades. This year, when the Canadian duo of Jamie Sale and David Pelletier skated what appeared to be a flawless program, it appeared to many spectators that Russia's reign was over.

Five of the nine judges for the event, apparently, did not agree and awarded the gold to the Russian pair of Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze. After a great deal of speculation by fans and the media, French judge Marie-Reine Le Gougne claimed she was pressured to favor the Russians.

And so the saga began. Eventually, it was decided that the Canadians would be awarded gold medals along with the Russians in hopes of putting an end to the scandal.

It is not over, though. The idea of dual champions is ridiculous. A champion is supposed to be the best. There will always be second-guessing as to which pair really was better. This controversy will not die until there is one - and only one - champion of the ice.

That is where I come in. Brace yourselves: I have an idea.

I believe sporting events should be settled in the arena, not in a conference room. I propose a skate-off: Russians vs. Canadians, one time only, couple to couple. Winner takes all.

It could be totally hyped. I think they should pull Don King in on this thing and shoot for pay-per-view. Only in America!

Actually, the event probably should not be held in America. It should be in some totally neutral site, far away from both Canada and Russia. I'm thinking Ecuador. That's why I've named this event "The Eliminator by the Equator." Pretty catchy, huh?

There is, however, one more big thing to deal with. Who will judge this showdown for the ages? It is obvious Olympic judges cannot be used. They are why this whole controversy exists in the first place. I am not going to have them ruin my show, so who is going to decide which pair should get the gold?

You guessed it: television judges.

The panel would include lesser-known television judges such as judges Joe Brown, Glenda Hatchett and Greg Mathis. The judges would be led by the twin towers of television justice: Judge Judy and Judge Mills Lane.

I can just hear Judge Judy now: "Don't slip on my ice and tell me it was part of the program."

And you know no one can mess with Judge Mills Lane. The man is a former marine and boxing referee who once disqualified Mike Tyson. If Tyson doesn't intimidate you, no figure skater will. Well, maybe Tonya Harding, but I digress.

The choice is very simple when you think about it. Television judges are used to the spotlight from having their own syndicated shows, so the pressure of ruling on such a high-profile matter should not be a problem.

There it is folks, the solution to this whole double gold medal problem. David, Jamie, Elena and Anton, jump on the next jet to Ecuador, lace up those skates and let's get it on!

Write to Cole at


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