Russia have withdrawn their threat to pull their team out of the Winter Olympics although they are still considering boycotting the closing ceremony over what they claim was unfair officiating in Salt Lake City. The Russians today made a formal protest to the International Olympic Committee and the International Skating Union over the judging of last night's women's free skating and they have also made allegations regarding the judging in the ice hockey and cross country events.

Last night, American Sarah Hughes came from fourth after the short programme to claim gold. Russian Irina Slutskaya stayed in silver medal position with Michelle Kwan dropping from gold to bronze. A spokesperson for the Russians claimed: "We believe Slutskaya skated as well if not better than Hughes in the free programme. We don't want to take a gold medal away from the American skater but our skater deserved the gold medal."

However, their protests over Slutskaya appear to be doomed as Hughes skated a clean programme in a component of the competition which accounts for two thirds of the total marks while Slutskaya stepped out of a flip.

It seems the latest problems to hit the Winter Olympics stems from the precedent set by the ISU in promoting Canadians David Pelletier and Jamie Sale to retrospective gold medal in last week's pairs figure skating. The Russians are not the only country to make a complaint about where they've finished up in an event.

South Korea have demanded a gold for their short-track speed skater Kim Dong-Sung. Kim appeared to win the men's 1500 metres on Wednesday but was disqualified and gold handed to America Apolo Anton Ohno. However, the ISU have rejected their appeal saying there is no provision within their rules to overturn a judgement call by the referee.

Filed by Amanda Fennelly