BARCELONA, Spain -- American Kristen Babb-Sprague pressed all the right buttons on the judges in winning the women's solo synchronized swimming Thursday, although the judges failed to press all their right buttons in return.
Babb-Sprague, 24, of Pleasonton, Calif., finished with a score of 191.848 points, just ahead of Canada's Sylvie Frechette's at 191.717. Frechette would have won if not for a scoring snafu in Wednesday's figures. Fumiko Okuno of Japan placed third with 187.056.
Wednesday, one Frechette routine was judged by every judge between 9. 2 and 9.8, except for the Brazilian judge who scored it at 8.7.
Later, the judge said she had entered the wrong score in the computer and had intended it to be 9.7. The head referee said the score couldn't be changed and Canada launched a protest.
When the protest was denied Thursday morning, Canadian officials were outraged.
'It is a decision that will have a lasting and negative impact on the Games and the movement, and it is one that can be rightly described as obscene,' said Ken Read, Canada's Chef de Mission.
In Thursday's final routine, Frechette outscored Babb-Sprague 99.160 to 99.040. Frechette earned five perfect scores of 10 from the judges compared to two for Babb-Sprague. But the difference wasn't enough to overcome Babb-Sprague's earlier lead.
'I cannot change anything,' Frechette said after the final. 'I swam a very good albatross (the figure in question). There was a mistake, but that's part of my sport. The only thing I could do today was swim well, and that's what I did.'
Babb-Sprague's win reverses the placings of the two from the 1991 World Championship.
'I don't know what to think,' Babb-Sprague said. 'The only thing I can say is that I can't believe it. I wasn't expecting it.
A week before the Games began, Frechette's manager and fiance, Sylvain Lake, was found dead in their Montreal apartment from carbon monoxide poisoning. They were to be married after the Olympics.
Frechette said she hoped the controversy wouldn't taint her rival's gold.
'We both have been training for so many years for the same goal,' Frechette said. 'She did her best. There's nothing else I can say.'