The sign on the door of French figure-skating judge Marie-Reine Le Gougne's hotel room read Do Not Disturb, But the damage had already been done. "These people don't even have the guts to tell me to my face," Le Gougne, 41, said as she stepped out of her quarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. "I have to find out from a journalist!"
The distressing news Le Gougne had just learned was that at the end of a two-day disciplinary hearing—convened by the International Skating Union to determine whether she had bowed to pressure at the 2002 Winter Olympics when she awarded higher marks to the Russian figure-skating pair than to Canadians Jamie Sale and David Pelletier—her fellow skating officials had given her a harsh "3." As in a three-year suspension from any ISU event. (The same sanctions were slapped on French skating federation president Didier Gailhaguet, the official Le Gougne claimed in February had pushed her to vote for the Russians. She later recanted.) "They want war? I will give them war—I will tell all I know about the ISU," Le Gougne proclaimed to PEOPLE. "It's all mafia."
Before leaving Lausanne with her 29-year-old boyfriend, who would identify himself only as "Axel," Le Gougne vowed to appeal the ban. Whether she succeeds would appear to be a moot point to Sale and Pelletier, who announced they were turning pro. Said the Canadian pair, who clearly know how to negotiate thin ice: "We skate, they judge."