In a shocking turn not even the live news announcers fully expected, Russia’s Adelina Sotnikova took home the gold medal in ladies figure skating (her country’s first), upsetting defending gold-medalist South Korea’s Yuna Kim at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Italy’s Carolina Kostner, a veteran in the sport, took home the bronze.
The internet, as always, is ablaze in the controversy. Even the New York Times (and Kurt Browning) is confused. Essentially, it all comes down to the math of the ever-confusing scoring system (oh for the days of the perfect 6.0). The move-by-move breakdown shows where each skater gained points over the other, with Sotnikova gaining a clear edge with technical. Yet many feel she was out-skated by Kim. In my extremely non-expert opinion, Kim is a more beautiful skater in terms of artistry and grace. Both programs were near flawless, and in a sport rife with technical ambition to raise the number of triples and push for higher, faster jumps, it’s hard to know exactly what happened. Sotnikova certainly got a boost from the home crowd and did not break under what must have been immense pressure and expectations. Still, the question remains: Should Yuna Have Won?
Some accusations of controversy stem from the anonymous judging system. And that one of the judges had recently been suspended for trying to fix and event at the Winter Olympics over a decade ago and that another is married to the head of the Russian figure skating federation. A petition to investigate the judging on change.org has already reached more than 1.7 million signatures.
Kim, who announced her retirement after the free skate, has remained poised and accepting of her second-place finish: “The judges give points and I can’t do anything about that. I did all I wanted to do, like I wanted to do it…I did all I can.” A queen to the last, we salute you, Yuna.
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