Staff entertainment pick: The Olympic Skating Scandal That Shocked the World streaming on Peacock, Genre: docuseries, episodes: 4. Five Stars. Not your typical historical documentary. Leaves you on the edge of your seat after each episode. Face paced, in-depth, shocking, and engaging. Perfect for people looking for a quick sport history fix.STAFF MEDIA PICK: Meddling: The Olympic Skating Scandal That Shocked the World
December 2023

As a docuseries enthusiast, I looked forward to finding one that focused on the Olympics. I was pleasantly surprised when my initial searches brought me to “Meddling: The Olympic Skating Scandal that Shocked the World.” This four-episode docuseries, available for streaming on Peacock and directed by Todd Kapostasy, details the 2002 judging scandal of the pairs figure skating event at the Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah.  

The story revolves around the 2002 pairs skating event and two skating couples: Canada’s Jamie Salé and David Pelletier and Russia’s Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze. Leading up to 2002, the Russians dominated pairs skating after winning gold medals for 10 consecutive Olympics. Salé and Pelletier became a powerful force in the pairs skating world and became the couple that had the potential to break the Russian winning streak. Salé and Pelletier gave a flawless and crowd-moving long program performance. The Canadians felt confident in winning the gold medal because Sikharulidze, unfortunately, had a small stumble coming out of the Axel jump during the long program. The Canadians received great technical marks from the judges but were ranked second in artistic marks. This meant that they won the silver medal, while Berezhnaya and Sikharulidze won the gold medal.  

There was instant lashback from the crowd, the North American media, and the general public because they all felt that Salé and Pelletier gave the night’s winning performance. Later that evening, the French judge, Marie-Reine Le Gougne, had reportedly admitted to being pressured by her federation to rank the Russians first in pairs skating. This was part of a vote-trading scheme that involved the Russians ranking the French first in the ice dancing events. The docuseries then goes into this scandal in great detail over the next four episodes. 

The first episode immediately grabs your attention with a montage of what the series will cover. It has everything viewers could want: love, scandal, tragedy, controversy, spy shops, FBI investigations, and even the Russian mafia. Viewers get a detailed history of the skaters, including how Salé and Pelletier began skating together and Berezhnaya’s inspiring bravery and perseverance in her skating career. The series gives a genuine look into the perspectives of the people involved in the scandal, both Russian and American. Despite all the different perspectives, the series does a great job of telling the story and providing enough background information so the viewer never feels lost in the story.  

This series is perfect for anyone looking to binge a sports history full of twists and turns. If you think you know this scandal, I promise you will leave with an entirely different understanding after watching “Meddling.”  

Watch the Trailer Here:  

Watch Jamie Salé and David Pelletier’s 2002 Long Program Here:  

Watch Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze’s 2002 Long Program Here:  

Written by Julia Herman