Host City: Salt Lake City, United States
Venue(s): Salt Lake Ice Center, Salt Lake City, Utah
Date Started: February 15, 2002
Date Finished: February 18, 2002
Format: Couples were ranked on Ordinal Placement, based on judges' points, with final placement for each section determined by Majority Placements. Thus, if a couple was ranked first by a majority of the judges, that skater was placed first overall for that section, with the tiebreakers being Required Elements for the Original Set Pattern Dance, and Technical Merit for the Free Dance. Ties were broken by a Subsequent Majority rule, i.e., if the couples were ranked for the same position by the same number of judges, Majority Placement for the next higher position for each couple determined who was ranked higher. The tiebreakers were then, in order: 1) Number of Majority Placements, 2) Total Ordinals of Majority, 3) Total Ordinals. Final placement was determined by factored placements. The placement for the Compulsory Dance #1 was factored by 0.2 (10%), the placement for the Compulsory Dance #2 was factored by 0.2 (10%), the placement for the optional set dance was factored by 0.6 (30%), and the placement for Free Dance was factored by 1.0 (50%). The sums of the factored placements were then used to determine final placement, with the Free Dance being the tiebreaker.
The competition was expected to be among three couples – France’s Marina Anissina (who was Russian-born) and Gwendal Peizerat, Russia’s Irina Lobacheva and Ilya Averbukh, and Italy’s Barbara Fusar Poli and Maurizio Margaglio. The ice dance event started after the furor that surrounded the judging in the pairs event. The two were related, as the French judge in the pairs, Marie-Reine Le Gougne, had effectively pledged her “vote” in the pairs to the Russians (over the Canadians), in exchange for the Russian judge supporting Anissina and Peizerat in the dance competition. As usual, the judging seemed pre-ordained. Anissina and Peizerat won the compulsory dances with Lobacheva and Averbukh second and the Italians third. They remained in those positions throughout, and the top eight couples were ranked 1-8 by the judges, in the exact same order, in all phases of the competition. The Italians did lose some points when Margaglio fell during the final dance phase.
In the investigation into the pairs judging scandal, a Russian mafia figure, Alimzhan Tokhtakhtunov, who was actually Uzbeki, was implicated as a person of interest, who may have helped fix the Olympic events. It was also revealed that Tokhtakhtunov and Anissina had a close relationship prior to the 2002 Olympics, vacationing and dining together, and speaking frequently on the telephone. Anissina denied any involvement in the controversy and none was ever found.