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Ice Dancing at the Winter Olympics

Ice dancing is one of the events in Figure Skating. It was first introduced at the Innsbruck Games in 1976 (though there was an ice dancing demonstration in 1968). The sport is often described as ballroom dancing on ice.

Ice Skating Ice Dancing

In ice dancing the emphasis is more on how gracefully the skaters make their way around the ice compared to pairs figure skating. The skaters are in contact almost all the time, and they are marked on how well they move to the music and the quality of the steps they execute. The time limit for each routine is four minutes, and the scores from three dances (compulsory, original and free) are added together to obtain a final total.

Ice Dancing Controversy

There was a scandal in the Ice Dancing competition in Salt Lake City Games in 2002, when Canadians Jamie Sale and David Pelletier were awarded silver behind Russian dancers Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze. To all observers, the Canadians had skated a seemingly flawless program while their rivals had appeared to make some technical errors. Subsequent investigations found that a French judge had been pressured into favoring the Russians. It was eventually decided that two sets of gold medals were to be awarded to each of the pairs. Following this scandal, the sport has been overhauled, and in 2006 in Turin a new scoring system was introduced which was designed to eliminate the risk of biased judging.


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