Sochi Scandal

The Controversy of Russia's 2014 Winter Olympics

Robbed of Gold?

Figure skating is perhaps one of the most intruiging events in the winter Olypmics. The contestants glide around, spinning into graceful shapes. But what happens when one stumbles? Well, they don't get the gold medal - at least, that's what usually happens. However, this is not how it went down at the Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi, Russia. To spectators, it would seem obvious that the South Korean superstar Yuna Kim had skated her way through an almost perfect performace in the free skate. Kim had previously won a gold medal in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, and many believed she deserved the title again. But when Kim's final score came in at 219.11, the gold medal would be awarded to Russia's Adelina Sotnikova, who triumphed with a score of 224.59. This angered the public, who accused Russia of biased judging. Though many peopled viewed the placing as clearly favored to Russia, Sotnikova's first place wasn't completely unbelievable. Her technical score 5.85 points better than Kim's. This was perhaps due in part to the landings of her seven triple jumps compared to Kim's six. However, some agree that despite the lesser amount of triple jumps, Kim's performance was better, landing without any noticeable difficulty and only one wobble in her whole show.

But this is not the only evidence that lead people to believe that Russia's judging was unfair. Looking at the results of the free skate, there may have been other skilled skaters that were bumped down to make room for a Russian champion. Fifth place was awarded to Russia's Yulia Lipnitskaya, a questionable decision. Her uneven performance in which she took a tumble was certainly outdone by America's Ashley Wagner. However, the judges seemed to be unfairly exaggerating Lipnitskaya's performance when they gave her a final score of 135.34, well above Wagner's 127.99. This combined with Sotnikova's also inflated score gave way to many global viewers siding against Russia, with roughly 1.6 million petitions having been signed for an “Open Investigation into Judging Decisions of Women's Figure Skating and Demand Rejudgement at the Sochi Olympics.” Will this be enough to convince Russia to behave properly at the next Olympics? Even if not, there are many much more important problems that the Olympics cause, such as environmental issues, that need to be delt with first.