French TV sorry for insulting Japan's skating hero

16th March 2006, Comments 0 comments

TOKYO, March 16, 2006 (AFP) - Public broadcaster France Televisions has apologized to Japan after French figure skater Philippe Candeloro disparaged its Olympic champion turned national hero Shizuka Arakawa.

TOKYO, March 16, 2006 (AFP) - Public broadcaster France Televisions has apologized to Japan after French figure skater Philippe Candeloro disparaged its Olympic champion turned national hero Shizuka Arakawa.

Speaking on air during the Turin Olympics, Candeloro said the performance by the 24-year-old, who became the first Asian to win a gold in figure skating, was worth "a bowl of rice," the Asahi Shimbun reported.

An anonymous man identifying himself as part of the Japanese Skating Federation telephoned the French network to protest, the newspaper said.

"It is natural that you were surprised and hurt by our remarks on the performance of your champion," France Televisions wrote in a letter to the Japanese ambassador in Paris, according to the Japanese daily.

"We offer you our most sincere apologies and promise not to repeat such an error," it said.

Candeloro, 34, is a two-time Olympic bronze medalist who moved on to become a sports journalist.

Arakawa, skating to Puccini's opera Turandot, beat Sasha Cohen of the United States and two-time world champion Irina Slutskaya of Russia.

Her victory has led to an outpouring of joy in Olympic-loving Japan, which won no other medals at Turin.

Last week, Japanese Sports Minister Kenji Kosaka apologized after saying he was happy that Slutskaya fell in competition, clearing the way for Arakawa's gold.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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