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Let the Skaters Skate: Savchenko-Massot, Zahorski-Guerreiro, and Elizabeth-Major!

This petition had 1,897 supporters

Two exciting new figure skating partnerships – Aliona Savchenko-Bruno Massot and Tiffany Zahorski-Jonathan Guerreiro – are being held hostage by the French Ice Sports Federation (FFSG, headed by Didier Gailhaguet) and the International Skating Union (ISU, headed by Ottavio Cinquanta), while a third – Estelle Elizabeth-Balazs Major – appears to be meeting the same fate. Because of bureaucratic resistance by the ISU and the French Federation, all three teams are paralyzed:  unable to compete, unable to perform in shows to earn money, and barely able to afford training expenses. To the ISU and the FFSG, skating fans say:  Let the skaters skate NOW and take part in the 2015-2016 competitions and championships that are so crucial in the lead-up to the 2018 Olympics!  

Aliona Savchenko of Germany, two-time Olympic medalist in pairs skating, formed a new partnership with Bruno Massot of France in 2014 when her longtime partner Robin Szolkowy retired from eligible skating. Ice dancer Tiffany Zahorski competed for France with Alexis Miart. When their partnership ended in 2012, she searched in vain for a new partner in France before finally teaming up with Jonathan Guerreiro of Russia. Estelle Elizabeth of France ended her ice dance partnership with Romain Le Gac in 2014 and formed a new partnership with Balazs Major of Hungary. The German, Russian, and Hungarian federations have opened their arms to the new teams and have followed ISU procedures for enrolling skaters from other countries. Where has the process gotten stuck for all three teams? At the French Federation, which is hanging onto Massot, Zahorski and apparently Elizabeth for all it's worth!

The French federation has said it will never release Bruno Massot (does it fear its skaters cannot compete with Savchenko-Massot?). Didier Gailhaguet refuses to release Tiffany Zahorski on the grounds that the French federation invested too much in her partnership with Miart. As a result she has not competed in over three years—a lifetime in the career of a skater. Gailhaguet has also refused to release Estelle Elizabeth. And Ottavio Cinquanta's ISU, deferring to the French federation, is stalling. The ISU is sitting on the skaters' requests that it make an exception to the requirement for the French federation's release—a procedure ISU rules explicitly allow. It refuses to make any decision that might be appealed to an outside body or to let the skaters use another established ISU procedure for changing countries. The skaters are hostages of these two powerful bureaucracies. Enough with the power games! Untangle the paperwork! Let the skaters skate NOW!

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