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Brian Boitano
E.M. Swift
February 10, 1992
The champion skater of '88 claims he has been forced to the Olympic sidelines by an unfair ruling
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February 10, 1992

Brian Boitano

The champion skater of '88 claims he has been forced to the Olympic sidelines by an unfair ruling

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BB: Someone from the USFSA told my coach, Linda Leaver, that it was really too bad, but unless [ Canada's] Brian Orser fell five times, I would never win the gold. So how does that make me feel? I probably won't win even if I deserve to.

SI: But that didn't turn out to be accurate.

BB: Right, right. It didn't. But in the past what was sad for me was I couldn't even count on some of the American judges. Some of them dumped me. Linda and I would sit down and look at the panels [at international competitions] and think, We can't count on the American judge. Count out Canada.

SI: How would you know which ones to count out?

BB: You've lived with these judges for five world championships. Usually there's an order to the way they go—this one always puts Orser ahead of me. You just know. All you can do is go out and do the job. Schmooze them as well as you can.

SI: Schmooze them?

BB: Well, you try to make a judge feel that he's really involved with your skating. You ask his opinion a lot. Then you go back and say, "I did what you told me to. Do you like it now?" It makes it difficult for the judge to criticize it. That's the way life works.

Now, I mean, if someone's going to tell you to pick your nose in the middle of the [performance], you're not going to do it.

SI: Did you ever have a judge tell you to do things like change your hairstyle?

BB: I had a woman judge come up to me and say, "Your hair is too long now." I remember sitting down to eat a meal after I had won my first nationals, in '85. I was 5'11" and weighed 150 pounds. I looked wimpy, basically. This judge comes up in front of my whole family and says, "You still have to lose 10 pounds."

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