Sochi’s figure skating stirs instant controversy

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Sochi Olympics Medals Ceremony Figure Skating Women
Adelina Sotnikova wins gold, Yuna Kim wins silver in Sochi. (AP Photo)

Following Russian skater Adelina Sotnikova’s gold-winning performance last Thursday, controversy has stirred around the world, questioning her win over Yuna Kim’s silver-winning performance.

Sotnikova beat Kim by 5.48 points with a total score of 224.59 and 219.1, respectively. They both performed in the last group of the free skate program that also included the U.S.’s Gracie Gold and Ashley Wagner. Some believed Sotnikova to be deserving of her gold medal, while others did not.

With the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics’ “skating scandal,” the results of a Russian winner in Russia did not bode well for many. According to CBS news, more than 1.7 million people have petitioned on Change.org to investigate the “controversial judging decision in the women’s figure skating competition at the Sochi Olympics.” Change.org said the signatures was five times the previous record with about 90 percent of the signatures coming from Korea and roughly 10 percent coming from the U.S.

Dick Button, a men’s figure skating two-time Olympic gold medalist, commended Sotnikova’s performance but believed she was not a “complete skater.”

Wagner didn’t finish in the top three and did not doubt the winners deserved their medals. However, she was outspoken about the judging.

“People need to be held accountable,” Wagner told reporters after Sotnikova was awarded her gold medal. “They need to get rid of anonymous judging. There are many changes that need to come to this sport if we want a fan base.”

While there were many who opposed the final results, many defended the judge’s score.

Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel argued against those petitioning for an investigation and told South Korea to “deal with it.”

Adelina Sotnikova won the gold medal as fair and as square as it gets in this sport. It’s time for South Korea to accept reality and spend their energy congratulating Yuna Kim on her silver.

Sotnikova also defended herself with the criticism she was facing around the world.

“I skated very well, and my technical score is higher than Yuna’s,” Sotnikova said. “My jumps were more complicated, especially in the second part of the cascade, rotations for the fourth level. That means I was better in technique. I skated very well.”

Hundreds of arguments can be made for either side, but whether there was a home-advantage or not, the results are final until the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

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