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Skating Body Sets Hearing Date

Updated:
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) _ The International Skating Union will hold a hearing April 29-30 on the figure skating scandal that shook the Winter Olympics.

The ISU said Thursday it was unable to schedule the hearing earlier because of a busy competition calendar, including next week's World Championships in Nagano, Japan.

The investigation centers on the conduct of French judge Marie-Reine Le Gougne, suspended by the ISU after voting for the Russians in the pairs' competition in Salt Lake City.

The decision came after Le Gougne told ISU president Ottavio Cinquanta she had been ``submitted to a certain pressure'' from the French federation to vote for Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze.

The Russians received the gold medal, but the International Olympic Committee later awarded duplicate gold to Canadians Jamie Sale and David Pelletier.

The ISU indefinitely suspended Le Gougne for misconduct four days after the pairs' free program. The charge grew from statements she made in a review meeting the day after the competition, accusing French federation president Didier Gailhaguet of pressuring her to vote for the Russians.

At a news conference in Paris last week, Le Gougne defended her vote and claimed she was trapped by international officials and the news media into falsely accusing Gailhaguet of pressuring her.

``I found myself in a trap,'' she said. ``They made me say what they wanted me to say.''

In its statement Thursday, the ISU said Le Gougne had been ``delivering unilateral opinion and allegations.''

``The ISU has given and will still give all those concerned every opportunity for defense,'' it said. ``However, the ISU has deliberately not taken any position on certain statements and accusations since it considers that this would not be proper will the case is pending.''

The ISU said it would make no further comment until a final decision is reached by its ruling council.
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