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Arutunian launches angry rant at judging system

Canadians Jamie Sale and David Pelletier made the "Love Story" program famous in using it up to and including the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Canadians Jamie Sale and David Pelletier made the "Love Story" program famous in using it up to and including the 2002 Winter Olympics. (Getty Images)

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By Laurie Nealin / special to icenetwork.com
(11/03/2007) - QUEBEC CITY -- A frustrated Rafael Arutunian unleashed a torrent of criticism on Friday after a question about the surprising number of triple jumps that were downgraded to doubles by technical specialists for the women's event at Skate America.

The former coach of Michelle Kwan, who now trains Japanese sisters Mao and Mai Asada in California, described the situation that unfolded in Reading as "disgusting."

"I hate this [new judging] system," he said, following the women's short program here at Skate Canada where only clearly underrotated jumps were downgraded.

"[The rules] keep changing. Nobody understands what they are doing. Everybody gets confused. This was supposed to make the system fairer, but it's messier, twice as messy," Arutunian added.

He explained that the system, which is constantly being revised, affects the skaters who need to know what to practice. His opinion is that the new system should have been introduced only in the junior ranks until the kinks had all been ironed out.

"Michelle Kwan, Jeff Buttle, skaters who I have worked with, whenever anybody changed something for them, it was painful because it was always something," he said.

Arutunian compared the principal of introducing the new system to raising a child, saying "if you want them to grow up right, to do what you want them to do, you have to teach them what to do when they are small. At 25, anything you tell them, they will do the same way they liked to do in the past."

Offering his final comment on the judging system, Arutunian said, "The ISU are like the policemen. Coaches are like the parents, but you can't expect people to follow the rules and not get in trouble with the policeman if they never grew up with the rules."

Another Love Story

There were more than a few people with surprised looks on their faces at the Colisee Pepsi on Saturday when the bronze medal-winning Russians, Yuko Kawaguchi and Alexander Smirnov, performed to "Love Story", the music behind the iconic program that won Canadians Jamie Sale and David Pelletier Olympic gold in 2002.

Later, the Russian couple's legendary coach, Tamara Moskvina, explained her reasons for this musical selection.

"I wanted to use 'Love Story' for many years. My plan was to use it for the 2002 Olympics, but it was already taken in 2000 (by Sale and Pelletier who used it for the first time that season). I wouldn't dare pick the same music I expected Jamie and David would use at the Olympics," explained Moskvina, who coached the other 2002 Olympic gold medalists, Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze.

"It is a different piece by composer Lai. In Canada, people associate it with Jamie and David and their skating, but, in the rest of the world, it's known as 'Love Story' by composer Lai," she continued.

"I feel after five years time, it is alright, and I have a right to choose any music I like."

Canada's Top Model

Young fans of Fedor Andreev will likely be squealingly happy to see the oh-so-handsome Canadian back competing this season. Andreev, now 25, is the son of Marina Zoueva, the Michigan-based coach to the top-ranked ice dance couple here -- Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.

Andreev came home last April from Hong Kong, where he worked as a fashion model and drove race cars. He announced that his injury-prone back, which hampered his competitive aspirations in recent years was no longer causing him pain and began training under the direction of Richard Callaghan. Callaghan, the long-time coach of U.S. and world champion Todd Eldredge, is here as coach to Canadian women's entry Lesley Hawker.

This weekend in Oshawa, Ontario, Andreev will qualify through the Eastern Ontario Sectional competition -- there are only four entries and all can advance -- to compete at the next qualifying round in December for the Canadian nationals. Success there would put him back on the national stage in Vancouver in January. The last time he competed at Canadians in 2005, Andreev finished sixth. He earned his best result, a bronze medal, in 2003.

Body Beautiful

Belgium's Kevin van der Perren, who finished fifth in the men's short program on Friday, wins the award for the most radical costume on opening day at the HomeSense Skate Canada International. His shimmery, black bodysuit was covered with snaking veins and arteries outlined in red and blue sequins, all flowing into and out of the brilliant red heart on his chest. He skated to "Xotica" by Rene Dupere.