Brian Cazeneuve will periodically answer questions from SI.com users in his mailbag.
3. Salt Lake City figure skating scandal: 2002
The Winter Olympics may never endure a more embarrassing melodrama than the pairs figure skating competition in Salt Lake City. Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze of Russia entered the event as strong favorites. But the Russian pair made several errors during a tentative free skate and were clearly inferior to Canada's Jamie Sale and David Pelletier, who skated a cleaner, more poised program. Yet somehow the judges wore blinders and saw it differently, awarding first place to the Russians. It was as if the scores had been fixed.
They had been!
Marie-Reine Le Gougne, a French judge, confessed that she had "submitted to a certain pressure" from the French federation to vote in favor of the Russians, presumably in return for favorable marks from Russian judges for a French duo in the subsequent ice-dancing competition. The red-faced International Skating Union later awarded duplicate gold medals to Sale and Pelletier, the first time that had been done in Winter Olympics history. On the heels of the embarrassing event, the ISU overhauled its scoring system.
4. Tonya and Nancy: 1994
This may be the only Olympic soap opera to be made into a real opera, an 18-part musical that appeared in a Boston theater last year. The real soap opera began on Jan. 6 at the U.S. Nationals in Detroit with the bizarre assault on Nancy Kerrigan's knee and the subsequent implication of Tonya Harding and her husband, Jeff Gillooly, in the attack. Kerrigan arrived at the Olympics as a sympathetic figure and won a silver medal behind Oksana Baiul but later revealed herself a poor sport when she complained during the award ceremony, and later while riding a Disney float that she deemed "so corny" before a hidden microphone. Harding finished well out of the medals following a tearful long program that she aborted midway because she had broken a skate lace. She later became a boxer and also created headlines by being arrested for driving while intoxicated and assaulting her boyfriend.
5. Votes for sale
With no system of oversight or accountability, members of the International Olympic Committee have often acted with impunity and entitlement when dealing with cities bidding to host the Games. It was a poorly kept secret that bid committees lavished expensive gifts and other enticements -- including jobs, shopping sprees and scholarships -- to IOC members and their families in return for votes.
During an interview with reporters in 1998, Marc Hodler, a veteran IOC member from Switzerland, hinted that his colleagues from Sion, a city that was bidding for the right to stage the Winter Games, were culpable. Hodler also stated that the votes-for-favors practice had been the norm for years. That set off a chain reaction of questions, investigations and pointed fingers at both IOC members and SLOOC, the organizing committee for the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City.
Eventually, 15 IOC members were either suspended or expelled, and high-level members of SLOOC resigned and faced criminal charges that were later dropped. IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch, a man who liked to be called His Excellency, was called before a U.S. Congressional committee to explain the IOC's actions.
As a result, bid committees are no longer allowed to host IOC members and their families before the Games; active and recently retired athletes, whose motives were hoped to be more honorable than some of their disaffected predecessors', have been added to the IOC; and reporters are permitted to view the committee's previously closed sessions on closed-circuit television.