Another Olympics, another judging controversy in figure skating.
You may remember the Olympics began with questions of the United States and Russia conspiring, but it ended with Russia getting what some considering an unfair assist from some of it’s former Soviet Union members.
“It’s sad that I just presumed Sotnikova was going to get a boost (in points) because this was in Russia,” former U.S. Olympic figure skating coach Audrey Weisiger said in a phone interview. “Isn’t it sad that I automatically thought that? Not one person in skating I’ve talked to said that’s the way it should have gone.”
“That’s not fair to see Carolina and Yuna, who have great skating skills and had great skating tonight — good jumps, nice presence on the ice, maturity, expression — could be six points behind somebody who has tremendous skill but is just coming out of juniors,” said Gwendal Peizerat, the 2002 ice dancing gold medalist from France, who is a television commentator here.
Nine judges were chosen for the short and long programs, from a group of 13. Judges from the United States, Great Britain and South Korea did not work the long program after working the short program the night before.
USA TODAY reports the following about their replacements.
Two of their replacements were Ukrainian Yuri Balkov, who was kicked out of judging for a year after being tape-recorded by a Canadian judge trying to fix the Nagano ice dancing competition, and Alla Shekhovtseva, a Russian judge who is married to Russian federation general director Valentin Pissev. The two other new long program judges were from Estonia and France, which was the country that conspired with Russia to try to fix the pairs and ice dancing competition at the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.
And with the International Skaing Union changing the judging system in 2004 it may be some time, if we ever, find out what happened in Sochi. Now judges scores are hidden into two parts: a element score and a total program component.
One U.S. skater not happy with the judging is Ashley Wagner who finished seventh behind Russian Julia Lipnitskaia who fell during both her short and long programs.
“People need to be held accountable,” Wagner said after the competition, “they need to get rid of the anonymous judging. There are many changes that need to come to this sport if we want a fan base because you can’t depend on this sport to always be there when you need it. … This sport needs to be held more accountable with its system if they want people to believe in it.”
Figure Skating has long been questioned, then again any event which uses humans to score based on what they saw will always be questioned.