So much for the notion that the biggest blight on the Salt Lake City Olympics would be dubious dealings between ethically challenged organizing committee members and the IOC. An otherwise stellar Winter Games was sullied by the mother of all cheating scandals. The Canadian duo of Jamie Sale and David Pelletier, the defending world champs, clearly outskated their Russian counterparts, Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze, in the pairs competition. The Canadians pulled off their routine flawlessly before a raucous crowd of 16,500 that urged a perfect score by chanting "Six! Six!" in unison; Sikharulidze stepped out of a double Axel. Jaws dropped when the judges announced their scores and, unaccountably, the Russians were awarded the gold. With the world crying foul, French judge Marie-Reine Le Gougne, an -- how to put this? -- emotionally fragile sort, said she had been pressured to "act in a certain way" before she voted to give the gold to the Russian pair. Le Gougne claimed she had voted for the Russian skaters at the direction of the French skating federation and its president, Didier Gailhaguet. Gailhaguet denied those claims and suggested that pressure had also come from Canadian skating officials. Amid a furor that obscured the other events and achievements in Salt Lake, the IOC waited just four days before awarding the Canadians a "second" gold medal -- the first time such a step had been taken as a result of a judging impropriety and a tacit acknowledgment that the competition was indeed fixed. The scandal grew even more unseemly over the summer when authorities charged that an alleged Russian mobster, Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, had masterminded the fix. In addition to retracing old Cold War battle lines, Skategate seemed to confirm the worst fears about the most subjective of sports: namely that figure skating is beset by bone-deep corruption. Now, nearly a year after the fact, the collateral damage is still being felt in the skating world. Oh, for the halcyon days of Tonya and Nancy.
CNNSI.com at the Olympics: Better late than never
Brian Cazeneuve: Where figure skating goes from here
Brian Cazeneuve: Figure skating's black eye
Photo Gallery: Skating on thin ice
Photographs by Yves Dieffenbacher, Stanley Chou/Getty Images, Robert Laberge/Getty Images