By Joe Haran


For the first time in six years I watched the United States Figure Skating Championships and I'm sorry I did. Doing so only confirmed my belief that the United States Figure Skating Association (USFSA) continues to be the most incompetent, tyrannical and unethical sports-governing organization in the world.

The clear winner of the Senior Ladies division was Sasha Cohen. She was in first place after her technical program; and she skated a brilliant long program. But, the Kwan Mafia had its way as usual: one incomplete jump gave corrupt USFSA officials the excuse they hoped for, so Ms. Cohen was given artificially-deflated marks; and a mediocre Kwan performance, rewarded by artificially-inflated marks, gave the lesser athlete a championship trophy.

Don't listen to the old saw about how you have to earn your way to the top. Ever heard of Tara Lipinski? Tonya Harding, who was doing triple Axels in competition by her middle teens, came up under the "old" system; but when USFSA officials were given the green light to score Ms. Harding with fair marks--which didn't happen until 1991 and then only reluctantly--the Yamaguchi Mafia was in full-infiltration force within the USFSA and the brakes were immediately put on the under-funded Ms Harding's career.

Why do otherwise-intelligent people continue to entrust their clients' or daughters' efforts to the whimsy of USFSA corruption? Why don't the grown-up athletes in the sport, along with coaches and honest officials, just dump the USFSA in the garbage where it belongs? A figure-skating sports-governing organization run by athletes is the only solution to this problem at present: since the corporate media and corporate America in general care nothing about ethics and sportsmanship, the USFSA just laughs all the way to its room full of cell phones and draws up the next order of finish.

Congratulations are due Ms. Cohen for having been the best female skater at Nationals. Condemnation is due the tournament's sponsors--not to mention the International Skating Union--for tolerating the corrupt USFSA result.