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12 Fascinating Pet Cemeteries Around the World

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Bertrand Guay/Getty Images

There are hundreds of pet cemeteries all over the world dedicated to honoring deceased cats, dogs, and other beloved animals. Some even allow humans to be buried with their furry (or feathered) friends. Here, we’re taking a look at a dozen fascinating pet cemeteries across the globe, from one that only buries coon dogs to another that celebrates military canines.

1. CEMETERY OF DOGS AND OTHER DOMESTIC ANIMALS // ASNIÈRES-SUR-SEINE, FRANCE

Opened in 1899, the Cimetière des Chiens et Autres Animaux Domestiques is one of the world’s oldest pet cemeteries. Located in a Paris suburb, the Art Nouveau cemetery has stylish arches on its front gate, stone animal sculptures above some pets’ tombstones, and a monument honoring Barry, a heroic Saint Bernard who fought in World War I (pictured above). Among the 40,000 pets buried there are royal pets, award-winning show dogs, and Rin Tin Tin, the WWI canine hero turned Hollywood actor. Don’t be alarmed if you see (living) cats perched on top of the headstones—stray felines regularly wander the cemetery, where they have access to food and water.

2. HARTSDALE PET CEMETERY // HARTSDALE, NEW YORK

The entrance to Hartsdale Pet Cemetery
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Hartsdale Pet Cemetery, the first pet cemetery in the U.S., houses over 100,000 animals on its five acres. Established in 1896, the cemetery (nickname: The Peaceable Kingdom) morphed from a Manhattan veterinarian’s apple orchard into a burial ground for dogs and cats, as well as reptiles, gerbils, turtles, birds, and a lion cub. The cemetery features a War Dog Memorial, a mausoleum for two spaniels, and ornate granite slabs and marble grave markers. Pet owners can arrange viewings, funerals, and cremation through the cemetery, and humans can even be buried with their beloved pets.

3. LOS ANGELES PET MEMORIAL PARK // CALABASAS, CALIFORNIA

In 1928, a Hollywood veterinarian named Dr. Eugene Jones founded the L.A. Pet Park to help his clients honor their dead pets. Later renamed the Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park, the 10-acre cemetery is the final resting place for 42,000 deceased animals. Visitors can leave flowers at the gravestones of celebrity pets such as Charlie Chaplin’s cat, Rudolph Valentino’s Doberman, fictional cowboy Hopalong Cassidy’s horse, and Steven Spielberg’s Jack Russell Terrier. The cemetery also performs cremations and helps pet owners choose the perfect urn, casket, or headstone for their beloved animals.

4. NATIONAL WAR DOG CEMETERY // APRA HARBOR, GUAM

At a U.S. naval base on Guam’s Apra Harbor, the National War Dog Cemetery honors the 25 military dogs that died in the 1944 Second Battle of Guam. In the battle, the dogs helped members of the U.S. Marine Corps by serving as guards, carrying medical supplies, and finding bombs and enemy combatants. Dedicated 50 years to the day after Americans recaptured Guam from Japanese control, the cemetery features dozens of graves and a granite sculpture of Kurt, a Doberman Pinscher who alerted troops of an imminent attack, thereby saving the lives of around 250 Marines.

5. KEY UNDERWOOD COON DOG MEMORIAL GRAVEYARD // CHEROKEE, ALABAMA

A burial at the Alabama Coon Dog Cemetery
Carol M. Highsmith, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Also called coonhounds, coon dogs are a type of hound bred to hunt raccoons. The Key Underwood Coon Dog Memorial Graveyard, established in rural northwest Alabama in 1937, is the final resting place for approximately 200 beloved coon dogs. The graveyard is named after Key Underwood, a hunter who chose to bury Troop, his canine companion of more than 15 years, in the dog’s favorite hunting camp. You won’t find any coon dog wannabes or mixed breed dogs buried here. To qualify for burial, the owner must declare that his pet is an authentic coon dog, and a witness and graveyard employee must back up the claim. In 1985, Underwood explained the graveyard’s elitist stance to a reporter: “You must not know much about coon hunters and their dogs, if you think we would contaminate this burial place with poodles and lap dogs.” Because Underwood buried Troop on Labor Day of 1937, the cemetery hosts a celebration each Labor Day.

6. JINDAIJI PET CEMETERY // TOKYO, JAPAN

Cubbies at the Jindaiji Pet Cemetery
Ken Schwarz, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

One of Japan’s many pet cemeteries, Jindaiji Pet Cemetery is located in Jindaiji Temple, a place of worship in Chofu City, a suburb of Tokyo known for its famous soba noodles and botanical garden. Although the temple was built way back in 733, the cemetery component of the temple has only existed for the past half-century. Inside the cemetery are corridors of shelves spanning from the floor to ceiling. After paying a monthly fee to the temple, pet owners adorn their shelf with photos of their pet, small vases of artificial flowers, Buddhist prayer plaques, urns, and even cans of cat and dog food for the afterlife. Outside is a more typical cemetery, featuring engraved stones and plenty of flowers.

7. PATH TO ETERNITY // CHIHUAHUA, MEXICO

Path To Eternity (Spanish name: Senda a la Eternidad, Cementerio y Crematorio) is a pet cemetery located 250 miles south of El Paso, Texas. To fulfill its goal of honoring departed pets and consoling their grieving owners, the cemetery offers funeral ceremonies, burial in an individual or common grave, and cremation services. Heartbroken owners can take comfort in the cemetery’s unique mural, which depicts the rainbow bridge, a fabled bridge that connects Earth to heaven.

8. PET CEMETERY AT THE STANLEY HOTEL // ESTES PARK, COLORADO

A hotel might sound like an odd place for a pet cemetery. But a cemetery at The Stanley Hotel, the famously “haunted” hotel that inspired Stephen King to write The Shining, probably makes more sense. Just a few miles from Rocky Mountain National Park, the hotel houses a small pet cemetery that includes a dozen graves for the deceased pets of former hotel staff. (King also wrote a novel called Pet Sematary, but claims it was inspired by a pet cemetery in Maine rather than the Stanley Hotel’s.) In 2013, the cemetery was dug up and moved to a different part of the hotel grounds. In its place? A new wedding and corporate retreat spot, of course!

9. HYDE PARK’S PET CEMETERY // LONDON, ENGLAND

Graves at the Hyde Park pet cemetery
Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Hyde Park's 350 acres house a Princess Diana memorial fountain, tennis courts, and yes, a pet cemetery. In 1881, a gatekeeper buried his friends’ Maltese Terrier, Cherry, in a garden behind Victoria Lodge, a building in the northeastern part of the park. Over the next two decades, 300 more Victorian pets (mostly dogs, but also cats and birds) were buried in the cemetery. Although not easily accessible and rarely open to the public, the Royal Parks charity occasionally offers tours, granting lucky visitors the chance to stroll through the cemetery and pay their respects.

10. RODEO ANIMAL CEMETERY // OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA

No visit to Oklahoma City’s National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum is complete without seeing the graves of departed rodeo animals. Situated in the museum’s outdoor garden, this small cemetery has an old-time feel to it, with wooden signposts and granite tombstones dedicated to cowboys’ best friends. The graves pay tribute to a handful of horses and bucking bulls with names like Poker Chip, Tornado, and Baby Doll Combs. A memorable tombstone for a horse named Midnight, who lived from 1907 to 1936, displays an image of a horseshoe and an epitaph that implores God to let his soul rest. The museum’s mascot, a Texas Longhorn named Abilene, is also buried there.

11. THE ANIMAL MEMORIAL CEMETERY AND CREMATORIUM // NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA

Berkshire Park’s Animal Memorial Cemetery and Crematorium has been comforting grieving Australian pet parents since 1967. Owners Shane and Katrina McGraw live on the grounds, keeping a watchful eye and caring for the land. The cemetery offers pet owners a service to pick up their deceased pet from the veterinarian’s office and arranges final farewells in their chapel. The cemetery also performs cremations and offers a selection of urns and coffins. The peaceful setting includes plenty of grass, trees, flowers, and benches to sit and reflect on your pet’s life.

12. ILFORD ANIMAL CEMETERY // LONDON, ENGLAND

A grave at the Ilford pet cemetery
Cate Gillon/Getty Images

Also called the PDSA (People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals) Animal Cemetery, Ilford Animal Cemetery in northeast London is home to more than 3000 deceased animals. Since the 1920s, pet owners have buried their beloved pets in the cemetery, which underwent an extensive renovation in 2007. Ilford Animal Cemetery also houses the remains of about a dozen animals, from carrier pigeons to search and rescue dogs, that received the PDSA Dickin Medal for their actions during World War II. The animal version of the Victoria Cross, this medal recognizes animals that displayed outstanding bravery during battle.

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11 Secrets of Bodyguards
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Tullio M. Puglia, Getty Images

When CEOs, celebrities, and the extremely wealthy need personal protection, they call in men and women with a particular set of skills. Bodyguards provide a physical barrier against anyone wishing their clients harm, but there’s a lot more to the job—and a lot that people misunderstand about the profession. To get a better idea of what it takes to protect others, Mental Floss spoke with several veteran security experts. Here’s what they told us about being in the business of guaranteeing safety.

1. BIGGER ISN’T ALWAYS BETTER.

When working crowd control or trying to corral legions of screaming teenagers, having a massive physical presence comes in handy. But not all "close protection specialists" need to be the size of a professional wrestler. “It really depends on the client,” says Anton Kalaydjian, the founder of Guardian Professional Security in Florida and former head of security for 50 Cent. “It’s kind of like shopping for a car. Sometimes they want a big SUV and sometimes they want something that doesn’t stick out at all. There’s a need for a regular-looking guy in clothes without an earpiece, not a monster.”

2. GUNS (AND FISTS) ARE PRETTY MUCH USELESS.

An armed bodyguard pulls a gun out of a holster
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Depending on the environment—protecting a musician at a concert is different from transporting the reviled CEO of a pharmaceutical company—bodyguards may or may not come armed. According to Kent Moyer, president and CEO of World Protection Group and a former bodyguard for Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, resorting to gunplay means the security expert has pretty much already failed. “People don’t understand this is not a business where we fight or draw guns,” Moyer says. “We’re trained to cover and evacuate and get out of harm’s way. The goal is no use of force.” If a guard needs to draw a gun to respond to a gun, Moyer says he’s already behind. “If I fight, I failed. If I draw a gun, I failed.”

3. SOMETIMES THEY’RE HIRED TO PROTECT EMPLOYERS FROM EMPLOYEES.

A security guard stands by a door
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Workplace violence has raised red flags for companies who fear retribution during layoffs. Alan Schissel, a former New York City police sergeant and founder of Integrated Security, says he dispatches guards for what he calls “hostile work termination” appointments. “We get a lot of requests to provide armed security in a discreet manner while somebody is being fired,” he says. “They want to be sure the individual doesn’t come back and retaliate.”

4. SOME OF THEM LOVE TMZ.

For protection specialists who take on celebrity clients, news and gossip site TMZ.com can prove to be a valuable resource. “I love TMZ,” Moyer says. “It’s a treasure trove for me to see who has problems with bodyguards or who got arrested.” Such news is great for client leads. Moyer also thinks the site’s highly organized squad of photographers can be a good training scenario for protection drills. “You can look at paparazzi as a threat, even though they’re not, and think about how you’d navigate it.” Plus, having cameras at a location before a celebrity shows up can sometimes highlight information leaks in their operation: If photographers have advance notice, Moyer says, then security needs to be tightened up.

5. THEY DON’T LIVE THE LIFE YOU THINK THEY DO.

A bodyguard stands next to a client
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Because guards are often seen within arm’s reach of a celebrity, some think they must be having the same experiences. Not so. “A big misconception is that we’re living the same life as celebrities do,” Kalaydjian says. “Yes, we’re on a private jet sometimes, but we’re not enjoying the amenities. We might live in their house, but we’re not enjoying their pool. You stay to yourself, make your rounds.” Guards that get wrapped up in a fast-paced lifestyle don’t tend to last long, he says.

6. SOMETIMES THEY’RE JUST THERE FOR SHOW.

For some, being surrounded by a squad of serious-looking people isn’t a matter of necessity. It’s a measure of status on the level of an expensive watch or a fast car. Firms will sometimes get calls from people looking for a way to get noticed by hiring a fleet of guards when there's no threat involved. “It’s a luxury amenity,” Schissel says. “It’s more of a ‘Look at me, look at them’ thing,” agrees Moyer. “There’s no actual threat. It’s about the show. I turn those down. We do real protection.”

7. THEY CAN MAKE THEIR CLIENT'S DAY MORE EFFICIENT.

A bodyguard escorts a client through a group of photographers
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Because guards will scope out destinations in advance, they often know exactly how to enter and exit locations without fumbling for directions or dealing with site security. That’s why, according to Moyer, CEOs and celebrities can actually get more done during a work day. “If I’m taking you to Warner Bros., I know which gate to go in, I’ve got credentials ahead of time, and I know where the bathrooms are.” Doing more in a day means more money—which means a return on the security investment.

8. “BUDDYGUARDS” ARE A PROBLEM.

When evaluating whether or not to take on a new employee, Kalaydjian weeds out anyone looking to share in a client’s fame. “I’ve seen guys doing things they shouldn’t,” he says. “They’re doing it to be seen.” Bodyguards posting pictures of themselves with clients on social media is a career-killer: No one in the industry will take a “buddyguard” seriously. Kalaydjian recalls the one time he smirked during a 12-year-stint guarding the same client, something so rare his employer commented on it. “It’s just not the side you portray on duty.”

9. SOCIAL MEDIA MAKES THEIR JOB HARDER.

A bodyguard stands next to a client
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High-profile celebrities maintain their visibility by engaging their social media users, which often means posting about their travels and events. For fans, it can provide an interesting perspective into their routine. For someone wishing them harm, it’s a road map. “Sometimes they won’t even tell me, and I’ll see on Snapchat they’ll be at a mall at 2 p.m.,” Kalaydjian says. “I wouldn’t have known otherwise.”

10. NOT EVERY CELEBRITY IS PAYING FOR THEIR OWN PROTECTION.

The next time you see a performer surrounded by looming personal protection staff, don’t assume he or she is footing the bill. “A lot of celebrities can’t afford full-time protection,” Moyer says, referring to the around-the-clock supervision his agency and others provide. “Sometimes, it’s the movie or TV show they’re doing that’s paying for it. Once the show is over, they no longer have it, or start getting the minimum.”

11. THEY DON’T LIKE BEING CALLED “BODYGUARDS.”

A bodyguard puts his hand up to the camera
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Few bodyguards will actually refer to themselves as bodyguards. Moyer prefers executive protection agents, because, he says, bodyguard tends to carry a negative connotation of big, unskilled men. “There is a big group of dysfunctional people with no formal training who should not be in the industry,” he says. Sometimes, a former childhood friend can become “security,” a role they’re not likely to be qualified for. Moyer and other firms have specialized training courses, with Moyer's taking cues from Secret Service protocols. But Moyer also cautions that agencies enlisting hyper-driven combat specialists like Navy SEALs or SWAT team members aren't the answer, either. “SEALs like to engage and fight, destroying the bad guy. Our goal is, we don’t want to be in the same room as the bad guy.”

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9 Wild Moments from Winter Olympics History
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With the Pyeongchang Olympics nearing their final weekend in South Korea, we thought we'd take a look back at some of the wildest and most unpredictable moments of Winter Games past.

1. AUSTRALIA WINS ITS FIRST WINTER GOLD MEDAL WHEN SPEED SKATER WAITS FOR HIS COMPETITORS TO FALL DOWN

Knowing he was overmatched by his fellow athletes during the 1000 Meter Short Track Speed Skating competition at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, Australian Steven Bradbury devised a strategy of waiting in the back of the pack on the off chance that his competitors might trip up. Amazingly, the strategy worked when a disqualification in the quarterfinals got him through to the semis and a crash sent him to the finals.

In the final, favorite Apollo Anton Ohno and the three other competing skaters collided in an epic crash; the trailing Bradbury was close enough to the pack to cross the finish line before any of the fallen skaters, becoming Australia's first gold medalist in the Winter Olympics.

2. ALPINE SKIER HERMANN MAIER FLIES OFF THE COURSE AT 70 MPH, GETS UP AND WALKS AWAY

In downhill alpine skiing, skiers travel at extremely high velocities (typically 60 to 85 miles per hour) down courses that closely follow the mountain's fall line.

In 1998, Nagano Olympics race officials were worried about the downhill course—specifically, a steep angle between the 6th and 7th gates. They altered this portion but the section still posed a danger.

Austrian Hermann Maier finished first in the World Cup standings before the Olympics but had a reputation for recklessness within the skiing circuit—in fact, according to Olympic historian David Wallechinsky, “caution was not a word in Maier's vocabulary." Maier didn't slow down before the aforementioned dangerous turn in Nagano and went flying off the course at 70 miles per hour, tumbling to a halt some 50 meters away. In a sport where injuries—and even deaths—aren't unheard of, Maier shocked TV audiences by getting up and walking away with nothing more than a bruised shoulder.

Benefiting from a 24-hour weather delay on his next event, the Super-G, Maier used the extra rest to get back in full form and took home the gold. He also came in first in the Giant Slalom three days later.

3. WOMEN CHEAT BY HEATING UP THEIR SLEDS


Wikimedia Commons

There have been a limited number of cases of cheating in the Winter Olympics (far fewer than in the Summer Olympics), but that doesn't mean it’s an impossibility. Just ask Ortrun Enderlein.

Enderlein, the defending luge champion, and her two East German teammates aroused suspicion by showing up just before their runs and leaving the scene hastily after. Enderlein won gold and her teammates placed 3rd and 4th, but upon closer inspection, it was discovered that their sleds had been heated immediately before the races, which reduced friction with the ice and resulted in faster times. The three were disqualified and the East German Olympic Committee blamed the affair on a "capitalist revanchist plot.”

4. SKI JUMPER RALLIES NATIONAL PRIDE BY FINISHING LAST

English plasterer Michael Edwards traveled to Lake Placid, New York two years before the 1988 Calgary Olympics to fulfill his dream of making the event as a downhill skier. When money ran short, he decided to switch to ski jumping because it was significantly cheaper and there would be no competition at the national trials. Edwards became the first Olympic ski jumper in British history, but was far below the standards of the rest of the field.

Edwards crashed at the World Championships the year before the '88 Games and was ridiculed by the international press, who dubbed him “Mr. Magoo” due to his thick-rimmed glasses and heavy frame.

To the British, however, Edwards became a great source of fascination, which turned into a full-fledged national craze as he became the first Olympic ski jumper in the country's history and successfully landed his attempt at the Calgary Games. Although he didn't even score half the total points of any other competitor, he earned admiration worldwide and was given the nickname "Eddie the Eagle" by the President of the International Olympic Committee during the closing ceremony.

Sadly, many others in the Olympic community did not take him seriously, and they raised the qualifying standards to prevent Edwards from participating in the future. This didn't stop him from trying, but he failed to qualify on three successive occasions. Today, Edwards still plasters for a living and estimates that 70 percent of his income comes from speaking engagements.

In 2016, Eddie the Eagle, a biopic about Edwards’s life featuring Hugh Jackman (not playing Edwards), was released in theaters.

5. GOLD MEDALIST IN OLYMPICS' INAUGURAL SNOWBOARDING COMPETITION GETS BUSTED FOR MARIJUANA

At the 1998 Nagano Games, snowboarding was introduced in an effort to make the Olympics more appealing to a younger audience. Still, there was some trepidation about the perceived rambunctious lifestyle of the snowboarding community and how it would fit in with the formality of the Olympics.

Nothing better illustrated this clash of values than when Canadian Ross Rebagliati became the inaugural winner in the Parallel Giant Slalom and was promptly stripped of his medal three days after the event for testing positive for marijuana.

Rebagliati claimed to have ingested it second-hand at a party and the Canadian Olympic delegation successfully appealed the IOC's decision on the basis that marijuana isn't a performance-enhancing drug. He got his medal back before the Games ended.

Today, 20 years after the controversy, Rebagliati has moved on from his snowboarding past and is trying his hand at entrepreneurism: he’s the founder of Ross’ Gold, a cannabis business.

6. NANCY KERRIGAN VS. TONYA HARDING


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Tonya Harding was an ice skating prodigy from a broken home who ascended to the world stage in the early '90s. As her financial security and world ranking started to decline in the months leading up to the Olympics, Harding became frustrated and directed her anger at fellow American Nancy Kerrigan, who was ascending in the world standings and landing lucrative commercial endorsements.

Harding's on-again-off-again husband Jeff Gillooly conspired with two other men to attack and injure Kerrigan before the 1994 Olympics. They carried out the hit after Kerrigan's practice skate before the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Detroit. Shane Stant, Gillooly's hired man, hit Kerrigan on the knee with a police baton as she was talking to a reporter in a stadium hallway. He escaped by diving through a plexiglass door before running to a getaway car.

The attack resulted in a bruise, but because there was no bone or ligament damage, Kerrigan was able to perform and was selected (along with Harding, who was under investigation for the attack) for the U.S. Olympic team. At the Lillehammer Games, Kerrigan famously skated to a silver medal after terrific back-to-back performances while Harding, disgraced, finished in eighth place. Harding's life, and the scandal surrounding her competition with Kerrigan, has been turned into the Oscar-nominated film, I, Tonya.

According to Olympic Historian David Wallechinsky, when CBS executives thanked their staff in Norway for the great ratings (the figure skating finals were the one of the most watched events in television history at the time), a CBS employee wrote back: "Don't thank us. Thank Tonya."

7. TWO AMERICAN HOCKEY TEAMS ARE SENT TO THE OLYMPICS, BOTH ARE DISQUALIFIED


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Controversy erupted before the 1948 Olympic Games in St. Moritz over whether the American Hockey Association or the Amateur Athletic Union was the chief governing authority for hockey in the United States. American Olympic Committee President Avery Brundage refused to sanction the AHA because of their commercial sponsorships, but the International Ice Hockey Federation officially ruled that the AAU was to be replaced by the AHA.

Amid the confusion, both teams made their way to St. Moritz to compete. Before they were set to march in the Opening Ceremony, the Swiss Olympic Organizing Committee banned the AAU. Because they were favored by Brundage, though, the AAU team got the honor of representing the U.S. in the opening ceremony, while the AHA team—which was actually allowed to compete by the organizing committee—had to sit in the stands.

8. LUGE TRACK WITH A HISTORY OF FATAL ACCIDENTS SELECTED AS SITE OF INAUGURAL LUGE COMPETITION


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Luge racers regularly hit speeds of over 95 miles per hour, meaning that even the smallest shift in body position can easily result in catastrophe. This was evident before the 2010 Vancouver Games, when Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili careened off the track during a training run and died of his injuries.

It was an eerie replay of the luge's first-ever appearance at the Olympic Games. Two weeks before the Innsbruck Games in 1964, Kazimierz Kay-Skrzypecki, a British RAF pilot who was inexperienced in the sport, flew off the track and died during a training run. Additionally, a German doubles luge team was injured on the track in a separate accident. The track had had several fatal accidents when it opened decades before, and although it was modified thereafter, Olympic participants had to lobby for further safety precautions to reduce some of the danger.

9. FRENCH JUDGE CONFESSES TO THROWING THE COMPETITION


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The pairs figure skating competition at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics resulted in a massive scandal that gave wind to the long-standing notion that figure skating judges can be swayed. Russian competitors Yelena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze made noticeable errors in their long program, while Canadians Jamie Salé and David Pelletier performed a flawless routine that had the crowd chanting "Six! Six! Six!"

When the judges ruled 5-4 in favor of the Russians and loud boos rang from the arena, the Canadian Olympic officials filed a protest. Protests filed by the losing party have become relatively common in the Olympics and the exercise is often a symbolic and ultimately fruitless gesture. But in this case, some dirt actually turned up.

In the subsequent investigation, it was revealed that the swing vote, French judge Marie-Rene Le Gougne, was up for a seat on the International Skating Union's powerful technical committee, and reports surfaced that she confided to a British referee a few days earlier that she had been pressured by her own national committee to throw her vote for the Russian pairs.

Le Gougne changed her story a few days later in an effort to save face, but her contradictory statements only exacerbated the coverage into a full-blown media frenzy dubbed “skate-gate.” In the end, Le Gougne was suspended for three years, the Canadians were awarded a second pair of gold medals, and the sport underwent reform with judges' scores being kept secret and chosen at random.

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