Did you hear the latest news on the Winter Olympics, within just six hours of the final tabulation of votes for last night’s ladies figure skating contest, more than 1.6 million and counting people demanded an investigation.  Furthermore, word leaked that there were some curious things surrounding the judging panel.  Though the judges’ scores all remain anonymous, there certainly were more Eastern bloc voters than Western ones for the ladies’ free skate, and both the South Korean and American voters were replaced.  So, here we are again, figure skating and controversy, what else is new.

So, why would we expect the 2014 Sochi Games to be any different than any of the other Winter Olympics in which the sport’s final results were met with controversy, curious marks, and more than questionable makeup of the judging panel?

Adelina Sotnikova, the Russian 17-year-old gold-medal winner Thursday night, skated a jam-packed free skate program, loaded with point-generating jump after point-getting combination.  It wasn’t the smoothest or most pleasing of skates, but Sotnikova nailed all seven jumps and combinations she attempted, and under the new scoring system, certainly deserved every mark she received.

Yuna Kim, the defending gold medal-winning Korean megastar and the ladies’ point leader, skated flawlessly.  It was an extended artistic masterpiece, highlighted by perfectly sound jumps within a longer story and program. Whereas Sotnikova completed seven jumps and combinations, Kim only attempted six.  Obviously, grace and poise lost out to physical ability only.

The IOC will do nothing because they are just as complicit in this debacle as they have always been.  I do not expect any different results from any of the eastern bloc judges and it has been this way forever.

Nine judges are used for the short and the long programs and those nine are chosen out of a pool of 13 individuals.  Some judges do both events; some do one or the other. All 13 are used in at least one of the two programs.  Four judges; one from the United States, one from South Korea, one from Great Britain, and one from Sweden were used for the short program on Wednesday, but not selected to judge the long program on Thursday.  Two of their replacements happened to be from Eastern bloc countries,€” Ukraine and Russia.  The Russian judge happens to be married to the Russian skating federation’s general director Valentin Pissev…oh, and the Russian girl won the gold. C

As the host country celebrates gold, the rest of the world pokes holes and finds more than a few reasons to question the final results.  Would it be figure skating if it was any other way?  It’s the way of the world in this sport.  Kim wasn’t thrilled on Thursday evening, but she accepted the silver with typical class and pride.  In the end, figure skating and judging controversies seem to go together. If anyone thought this wouldn’t happen, than they were being naive.  Especially, after the Russian hockey team was knocked out of any medal contention.

 

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