Russian dance team's costume controversy

2010-02-23 19:20 BJT

Special Report: 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games |

The ice dancing event at the Winter Olympics is generating lots of heat. The controversy is over the costumes worn by Russia's champions. Many find their aboriginal-themed costumes offensive.

The ice dancing event at the Winter Olympics is generating lots of heat. The controversy is over the costumes worn by Russia's champions. Many find their aboriginal-themed costumes offensive.
The ice dancing event at the Winter Olympics is generating lots of heat. 
The controversy is over the costumes worn by Russia's champions. Many 
find their aboriginal-themed costumes offensive.

Reigning world champions Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin departed from the conventional at the European championships. Some Australian Aboriginal leaders called it offensive cultural theft.

The Russian pair made slight alterations before stepping onto the ice in Vancouver. But they were still dressed in a loin cloth and covered with leaves.

The controversy is making headlines.

Karen Till, Visitor from Australia, said, "Well you know I love the ice dancing but I think it is a little bit shocking these costumes, they probably offended some Aboriginals back in Australia."

Sasha Osler, Whistler Resident from Australia, said, "Well, their costumes, it's quite disrespectful. Aboriginal people have being trying to fight against that kind of icon, I guess, for many years and then it's just brought it back in to the headlines."

Canadian skating critics were scathing about the routine and costumes. But Canadian Aboriginal leaders appeared less concerned. One says he thinks no offense was intended.

Tewanee Joseph, CEO, The Four Host First Nations, said, "They didn't plan on being disrespectful, they wanted to pay respects to nature and environment. There may be some people that are not happy with it, but I was taught by my elders to make sure that we can share our culture and I think that's the most important thing."

The controversy over the costumes didn't cut much ice with the judges either. The Russian pair slipped back to third place going into Monday night's final.


Editor: Du Xiaodan | Source: