ALSO ON SLAM!
Wednesday, March 29, 2000
French skater hurt in knife attack
NICE, France -- A knifer slashed the arm of a French skater and carved the calm at the World Figure Skating Championships here yesterday.
At 3:30 p.m. an unidentified attacker allegedly knocked on the door of fourth-place French pairs competitor Stephane Bernadis and slashed the skater with a "razor'' on the left forearm.
"It is a slight injury to the left arm,'' reported Didier Gaillaghuet, president of the Nice organizing committee, at a hastily called press conference prior to last night's men's short program.
"He's been psychologically shocked by what has happened but his health is good and he's feeling fine. Three or four stitches were required.''
Apparently Bernadis was able to shut the door on the assailant, who fled.
In a somewhat controversial result Bernadis and Sarah Abitbol were judged fourth, one spot behind Canada's Jamie Sale and David Pelletier, in the pairs short program Monday night. The final is tonight.
"I'm a little bit worried because we don't know who that person is,'' said Canadian team leader Benoit Lavoie of Quebec City.
The Canadian team is concerned about security at the hotel which is part of the Palais des Exhibitions complex.
The Canadians requested the hotel not give out room numbers to callers but that was still being done as of yesterday.
Most Canadian skaters suggest the security looks to be substantial everywhere they've been.
"It seems so tight, I don't know how that happened,'' said Edmonton's Ben Ferreira, who was not informed of the incident until after he'd skated in the men's short program.
Sale and Pelletier didn't seemed fazed.
"I'm going to put some super locks on my door tonight,'' said Sale in a lighthearted sort of way.
"I'm not scared. Not at all,'' said Pelletier.
"I'm not changing hotels or anything. I'm staying put. I don't owe anybody any money. Not here, anyway.''
It has been an eventful world championships.
Back-to-back defending world champions Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze of Russia were prevented from competing due to a drug test which showed use of a banned substance, a cold remedy.
"Skating never ceases to amaze me,'' said Elvis Stojko. "On and off the ice. There's always something that goes on in our sport. It kind of keeps people interested.
"It's unfortunate these things happen but it's reality and we have to deal with it. I just hope in all of this that no one gets hurt.''