If one of my goals of participating in the Olympics was so I would forever be acknowledged as a gold medalist, then I would definitely accept the gold medal even after what happened. In 20 years, many of the younger generations will not know of what happened this past week and will only hear them being referred to as Olympic gold medalists Sale and Pelletier. For example, the Fratianne skating incident from 1980 has been brought up several times this week. I didn't know anything about figure skating back then and I had only heard of people referring to Linda Fratianne as an Olympic silver medalist. In the many years of watching skating since then, I did not hear once about how she really deserved a gold and that there was a huge scandal during those Olympics. That's a huge disservice to a great athlete.
I'll admit to bias since I am a Canadian, but I honestly believe that Canadians have been treated badly by skating judges on more than this single occassion. Even if bad judgement, wrong judgement or bribery has been part of the Olympics, those judgements should be corrected once identified so that the hard-working and deserving athletes can be properly recognized.
As for the Russians having to resort to bribery, that's not all that surprising to me since their athletics programs are no longer of the same calibre as 20 years ago. Their athletes are no longer as invincible as they once were. They do not have the same quality of training, facilities, funding and special citizen status. Many of the skaters now train in the US or Canada with their American and Canadian competition. Their coaches may still be Russian, but those same coaches are also coaching and improving the quality of American and Canadian skaters. It's getting more difficult for the Russians to always win based entirely on merit, yet they still have the same pressures to win as before.