Miss Universe 2002, the 51st Miss Universe pageant, was held on 29 May 2002 at the Coliseo Roberto Clemente in San Juan, Puerto Rico. 75 delegates competed in this year. Oxana Fedorova of Russia was crowned by Denise Quiñones of Puerto Rico as her successor at the end of the event. Fedorova was dethroned four months later and 1st runner-up Justine Pasek of Panama took over the Miss Universe title.
This makes it the first time in the pageant's history that the 1st runner-up actually assumed the title when the reigning Miss Universe became incapable of fulfilling her duties, as explained in the disclaimer traditionally read out by hosts before announcing the winner in the live show. This was the last Miss Universe show to be aired on CBS. Beginning with the next Miss Universe pageant, NBC assumed co-ownership of the pageant along with Donald Trump, and as a result began televising the pageant.
- Spain - The winner of Miss España 2001 pageant, Lorena Van Heerde Ayala cut all ties with the Miss España organization and lost the right to representing Spain in any international pageant after a threat of lawsuit against the Miss España Organization by her family side due to breaching her contract with the organization, then they replaced her with the new Miss España 2002, Vania Millán by the Miss Universe Organization's request.
Other countries with Miss Universe licence that didn´t send delegates that year:
- The Parade of Nations was conducted outdoors in the streets of Old San Juan for the first time and the delegates all wore their national costumes and presented in alphabetical order. This format of the parade would continue until 2005, although from 2003–2005, the delegates did not wear their national costumes during the parade.
- Josiane Oliveira of Brazil was dethroned after Big Brother Brasil. The local organization discovered that she was married. The 2002 Miss Brazil 1st runner-up took over the title just two months before passing the crown to her successor.
New York: Justine Pasek of Panama was crowned the new Miss Universe today, replacing the dethroned Miss Russia who was sacked for "failing in her duties" amid rumours of secret marriages and pregnancy.
There were no gushing tears, bouquets or bittersweet kisses from rivals, but Pasek did get a crown and even managed to sashay briefly down a tiny catwalk erected in the atrium of Trump Tower in New York.
In between denying any personal relationship with the fallen Oxana Fedorova of Russia and rumours that the Russian was pregnant, property billionaire Donald Trump - owner of the Miss Universe pageant - assured the assembled press corps that Pasek was a worthy successor.
Miss Panama was "very special", Trump said, and a "huge crowd favourite" during the May 29 competition in Puerto Rico where she finished first runner-up.
Inevitably, however, the media focus was less on Pasek and more on the reasons behind the dismissal of Fedorova just four months into her reign.
The official line from the Miss Universe Organisation was that Fedorova had simply failed to fulfill her obligations, by refusing to turn up to scheduled promotional and charity events.
"We worked hard with Oxana," Trump said. "But a lot of these events are for charity and you just have to be there. She wasn't able to be there, so we had no choice but to terminate."
Trump also revealed that Fedorova had been given the chance to resign "for the purposes of getting this done nicely" but had refused, although she did "graciously" return her tiara following the termination of her contract.
While repeatedly insisting that Fedorova was a "very nice person", Trump hinted at the frustration engendered by her refusal to travel around the globe attending functions.
"Was she homesick? Well, she certainly enjoyed being in Russia," he said, adding quickly that he had "great respect" for Russia as a country.
According to reports in the US media, there were rumblings within the Miss Universe Organisation that Fedorova, who had put on some weight since winning the title, was pregnant and secretly married to her Russian boyfriend.
"We have found no basis in fact as to those allegations. So we don't think so," Trump said for the record.
In an interview published today in the Russian daily Gazeta, Fedorova herself denied being married or even putting on weight.
She added that she wanted to concentrate on what was most important to her - her studies - and would soon be undertaking a thesis in civil law at the university of the Russian interior ministry in Saint Petersburg.
With all the controversy surrounding Fedorova, the Panamanian Pasek was sidelined at times during today's 're-crowning' ceremony and sometimes had to rely on questions from Miss Universe Organisation staff planted in the audience.
Pasek confessed that she had not got to know Fedorova well because of the "language barrier." Unlike the Russian, Pasek speaks fluent English, as well as her native Spanish.
"I don't really have that much to say about her ... but I'm very happy to be taking over this job," said Pasek, who will keep the title for the next eight months.