2014 Winter Olympic Games - Sochi / Russia - 02/07

  • Yuna Kim’s Silver Medal: Politics or Poor Sportsmanship?

    Though the Winter Olympics have officially drawn to a close in Sochi, controversy over Yuna Kim’s silver medal in the women’s figure skating event continues. South Korea’s Olympic Committee lodged a formal letter of protest with the sport’s governing body, the International Skating Union (ISU) over the weekend, accusing the judges of bias in awarding Adelina Sotnikova – representing Russia – the gold medal.

    More than 2 million people have signed a change.org petition calling for the end of anonymous judging for the event, stemming in large part from anger over Kim’s second-place finish. On the other hand, professional figure skating is prone to conspiracy theories and impassioned fans – many of whom believe Sotnikova’s more technically demanding routine was worthy of gold.

    Were politics involved, or are South Korean fans and officials acting like sore losers? Let’s take a look at the arguments:

    Ukrainian and Russian judges inflated Sotnikova’s score

    Fans of “Queen Yuna” have been quick to point to the inclusion of Yuri Balkov on the judging panel. Balkov, representing post-Soviet Union Ukraine, was banned from judging for a year after attempting to fix the ice dancing competition at the Nagano Games in 1998.

    Another figure skating judge, Alla Pissev, is married to Russian Skating Federation general-director Valentin Pissev – adding even more fuel to the pro-Kim fire.

    Scorecards for the event – which, as mentioned above, are kept anonymous – were obtained by the South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo. It found that “seven of the nine judges gave Kim higher marks than [Sotnikova]. But the other two judges not only gave Sotnikova the highest score but by an enormous margin.”

    On Kim’s score card, for example, five judges awarded her between 9.00 and 9.50 points in the “skating skills” category. The other two judges awarded her an 8.25 and an 8.50. Sotnikova, on the other hand, was given scores ranging between 8.00 and 9.00 in the same category from the same five judges that scored Kim higher. The two judges that gave Kim a low score awarded Sotnikova with a 9.25 and a 9.50.

    “The [judging] panel made me wish that the United States and Canada had split up into many different countries,” said Lori Nichol, fourth-place finisher Gracie Gold’s choreographer, referring to the inclusion of judges from Ukraine and Estonia – former members of the Soviet Union – on the same panel.

    One South Korean newspaper went as far as saying that Kim was under the scrutiny of an “extra judge” in the form of Vladimir Putin.

    South Korea’s complaint is only symbolic, as it was filed too late anyway

    Even if South Korea had a legitimate reason to challenge Kim’s standing, the national Olympic Committee’s letter was filed too late.

    According to ISU rules, protests must be filed within 30 minutes of the event in question. South Korea waited nearly two days to announce its intention to challenge – and the ISU, as of Saturday, said it still hadn’t received anything.

    “All ISU members know the rules of protest,” said ISU spokeswoman Selina Vanier. “That’s something that’s very clear to our members.”

    Sotnikova made a few mistakes

    Both casual observers and ex-skaters turned TV pundits pointed out that Sotnikova landed with two feet on one of her combinations and stumbled late in the routine. Many argue that Kim’s performance was flawless, with no visible mistakes to speak of.

  • Well, the ice coverage is something that we can not see through TV. If a skater has great speed, she will cover more space during the same competition time.
    I have seen Yuna's competition 4 times in stadium (twice at Paris and twice at Torino). The speed and ice coverage was amazing.

    Recently I have been Trophee Eric Bompard 2013 competition which occurred nearby my house. Until few days ago I did not remember that Sotnikova was there. Honestly I did not know her before Olympic. haha. I saw her skating but I can not remember anything. It was... normal... sorry for her fan.

    Photo that I took during Trophee Eric Bompard 2013, Sotnikova should be among there... don't remember.

    by the way, I found interesting videos that show ice coverage of two skater today. If you see it you will understand how Yuna is fast and why her skating is another level.



    Yuna uses almost all area where as Sotnikva stays limited central area. Sotnikova uses only one time 1/5 of left from the view point during whole time.

    Olympic is over but Yuna seems calm. I quote some from her interview via WP.

    "I want to be remembered as myself, as a figure skater, rather than a gold medalist at Vancouver or a silver medalist at Sochi."

    On Sotnikova's gold
    "Because I didn’t come just to win a gold medal, I think I was just calm,I expected it somewhat because of the atmosphere. When you have too high of an expectation, the disappointment is also big, so I just waited calmly.I imagine various scenarios before the competition: doing well, not receiving a good score, and coming in second place. Because I imagined a lot of things yesterday, I don’t think it was that surprising."

    On Mao Asada,
    "We’ve been compared and have competed for so long, and it seems like there won’t be that competition between us again. I think I’ll remember her the most. I don’t think there are many skaters like us two, who were constantly being compared."

    Yuna never missed podium (which means she always got gold, silver and bronze in every compettion) during all competition from novice, junior, and senior competition since she started skating ini 1996. This record is unique since 100 years history of women single figure skating. The great skater Yuna Kim.

  • I think My post number 122 with link is essention corruption in ISU Figure Skating in Ladies' category during Sochi.

    From other way We will see in future Russian domination in Ladies'. So many young Skaters, Junior WCH will show probably all Russian podium.

    Has Anyone link to results of Russian Champs from December in Ladies' category?

  • Russia was 6th. But maybe next time with a new line-up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmP8nPoWi3Y ;)

    I didn't expect more from this Russian team, they had Ivanova, Kuziukova, Zhukova and Tchekaleva. As we could see especially Tchekaleva was expected to fight for medals, but didn't do it :whistle: Maybe in next years their team will improve :whistle:

    Gold medal - World League 2013 Prediction Game
    Bronze medal - World League 2012 Prediction Game

  • Russia can lose all Medals from the competition when WADA will publish doping findings.

    Interesting that Olympic Champion Adelina Sotnikova won't skate in new season said President of Russian Federation.. one season before Olympics..

    Are there rumors when WADA will publish something?

  • Russia can lose all Medals from the competition when WADA will publish doping findings.

    Interesting that Olympic Champion Adelina Sotnikova won't skate in new season said President of Russian Federation.. one season before Olympics..

    Are there rumors when WADA will publish something?

    Not sure when WADA will publish it. Will keep you updated if I find something. I don't think they can lose all medals, just the guilty ones. However Russia can still be banned from Pyeonyang 2018
    As for Sotnikova, she finished 6th in the national championships and therefore she doesn't qualify for the team. Same with Lipnitskaya (think she finished 8th). And the Russian women are so strong currently that losing them is nothing. Medvedeva is even more dominant than Kim Yuna ever was at the moment.