Skate judge under investigation resigns; status of inquiry uncertain. Was Spanish Olympic dance selection affected?

Alexandre Gorojdanov of Belarus (left) and Maria Abasova of Russia during the short dance at Golden Spin of Zagreb.  (Screenshot from video shot by another official.)

Alexandre Gorojdanov of Belarus (left) and Maria Abasova of Russia during the short dance at Golden Spin of Zagreb.  (Screenshot from video shot by another official.)

Alexandre Gorojdanov, the Belarusian under investigation for questionable actions as a judge at a December figure skating competition, has resigned from his positions as an international judge and referee.

Gordojadnov’s resignation was confirmed in a Saturday email by Alexander Lakernik of Russia, the International Skating Union’s top figure skating official.

Lakernik, ISU vice-president for figure skating, would not comment on the reason for Gorojdanov’s resignation or on whether it meant the investigation was over.

"I can confirm the rest only after the formal decision is taken," Lakernik wrote.

Globetrotting reported exclusively Dec. 20 that Gorojdanov, who served a 6 1/2-month suspension earlier in 2017 for violating the ISU code of ethics as a pairs referee at a 2016 event, was under investigation again for his behavior at the Golden Spin of Zagreb, an ISU Challenger Series event Dec. 6-9 in Zagreb, Croatia.

Another judge at the Zagreb competition, who was not working the dance event, became so concerned about Gorojdanov’s actions during the short dance that he shot video of what he saw happening.

Gorodjanov had been selected to judge both parts of the senior ice dance event at Golden Spin but was replaced for the free dance, with no reason given.

Globetrotting obtained a 27-second clip from the video.  That clip shows Gorojdanov using his judge’s screen in a way that suggests he could have been re-entering or changing marks.

During that process, he dropped a piece of paper into a basket, picked it out again and appeared to be writing something on it.  He also appeared to be talking to the judge on his right, Russia’s Maria Abasova.   It is unclear whether she was speaking or whether she has also been under investigation.

Under rule 430 (f) of the ISU Special Regulations & Technical Rules, Single & Pair Skating and Ice Dance, judges cannot discuss their "marks or decisions and marks or decisions of other Officials during the competition with any person other than the Referee and/or, for members of the Technical Panel only, the other members of the Technical Panel of the part of the discipline in which they are serving."

The results of Golden Spin had a significant effect on the Spanish ice dance selection for the 2018 Olympics.  The short dance scores of Gorojdanov and Abasova for the top two Spanish dance teams at Golden Spin, as calculated and published in an Instagram post by Mark Lee of the Skating Protocol, could be seen as largely responsible for determining which Spanish team is going to Pyeongchang.

Courtesy of @skatingprotocol

Courtesy of @skatingprotocol

Spain picked its dance team based on the combined scores of its top teams at Golden Spin and the Spanish National Championships a week later.

Sara Hurtado and Kirill Khaliavin, the latter a Russian ice dancer who has represented Spain beginning last season, wound up winning the spot by less than a point over Olivia Smart, a Briton who represents Spain, and Adrià Diaz, 328.12 to 327.17.

In the Golden Spin short program, Hurtado-Khaliavin, who train in Moscow under Russian coaches, gained a 4.02-point advantage over Smart-Diaz.  The Skating Protocol’s breakdown showed Gorojdanov and Abasova had by far the biggest disparity between their scores for Hurtado-Khaliavin and those for Smart-Diaz, with the gap more than nine points.

Xavier Cherta, general secretary of the Spanish Ice Sports Federation, said by telephone last week he was aware of the ISU investigation but “from our side, everything still is as it is.  We consider the results of Zagreb official and the results from our nationals official.”

Phone messages left with Marie-France Dubreuil, who coaches Smart and Diaz, were not returned.