Kim Yuna the reigning women’s figure skating Olympic champion was beaten by Russian Adelina Sotnikova today at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics:
As figure skating programs go, it was about as flawless as it could be.
South Korean figure skater Kim Yu-na put on a mesmerizing display of textbook jumps, exquisite steps and graceful spins in the free skating portion of the ladies’ singles competition at the Sochi Winter Olympics on Thursday.
On this night, however, it wasn’t quite enough for the 2010 Olympic champ.
Kim took the silver medal behind Adelina Sotnikova of Russia in one of the marquee events in the Winter Games, after earning 144.19 points in her free skate for a total of 219.11 points.
Sotnikova, a bubbly 17-year-old armed with technical prowess of a seasoned veteran, scored 149.95 points in her free skate for a total of 224.59 points. She gave Russia its first Olympic title in the ladies’ figure skating, and in the process denied Kim a piece of Olympic history. [Yonhap]
Not everyone thinks that the best skater won the Olympic gold:
They call her the Michael Jordan of figure skating. But on Thursday night in Sochi, South Korea’s Yuna Kim discovered there were no “Jordan rules” in Russia as “Queen Yuna” stunningly and controversially won silver in her attempt to be the third figure skater in history to win back-to-back golds. In fact, the opposite may have applied to her.
Adelina Sotnikova of Russia won the country’s first-ever women’s figure skating gold on home ice with some questionable scoring that has already generated plenty of buzz and controversy for all the wrong reasons. Sotnikova was described as the “chosen one” in an Olympics marred by rumors of potential fixes being in for the Russians in a sport notorious for shady activity (see: ice dancing at the 2002 Winter Olympics).
Consider this: Sotnikova did not land all of her jumps cleanly, yet scored 149.95 in the free skate. Yuna Kim scored 144.19 and Italy’s Carolina Kostner scored 142.61. In 2010, Yuna Kim shattered the world record at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver in what was hailed by nearly every figure skating analyst as one of the greatest performances in the history of the sport. Yuna’s score then? 150.06. That’s barely above what Sotnikova received with a performance in which she did not even land all of her jumps correctly.
Sotnikova’s total score for the event was 224.59 while Kim received 219.11. Kostner of Italy got 216.73. Kim led by mere tenths over both figure skaters entering the free skate.
Those watching and commentating on the event scratched their heads when Russian Yulia Lipnitskaya, who fell twice and stumbled around on the ice, received higher technical marks than Japan’s Mao Asada, who turned in a world-class and flawless free skate after stumbling to 16th after the short program.
Things got stranger when Sotnikova stumbled and two-footed a landing, yet still received far superior technical marks than Kostner. [Breitbart]
You can read more at the link, but here is what Yahoo Sports had to say about the result:
The issue for Kim fans is not so much the order of the finish, although there is that, but the huge difference in the scores — 224.59 to 219.11. Sotnikova blew away the mighty Kim, and thus this is a night that promises to be debated and analyzed around skating for years to come.
“Well, the scores are given by the judges,” Kim said, dodging the question of whether she thought the marks were fair. “So I am not in the right position to comment, and there is nothing that would change with my words.” (……)
Some will believe that the raucous home crowd swayed the judges to over-score Sotnikova, that they wanted to hand Russia its first ladies’ individual champion ever while the Games are here, or both.
The arguing will not subside soon. [Yahoo Sports]
I am no expert in figure skating so I cannot say whether Kim Yuna was cheated or not, however considering it is the Olympics cheating is always a possibility though I think Yahoo Sports’ argument that the home crowd swayed the judges may have some merit. So far I really have not seen any reaction to this yet in the South Korean news media, but it will be interesting to see if the belief Kim Yuna was cheated will become more prevalent or not in the coming days?
UPDATE #1: Here is what US skater Ashley Wagner had to say about the figure skating judging at the Sochi Olympics:
Ashley Wagner launched a withering attack on figure skating’s hierarchy and the Winter Olympics judges on Thursday night after being pushed down to seventh in the ladies’ individual competition.
The 22-year-old American fought back tears as she revealed her frustration and anger with the judging at the Iceberg Skating Palace and suggested that the two Russian skaters, gold medalist Adelina Sotnikova and fifth-place finisher Julia Lipnitskaia, had been given unfairly inflated scores.
“I feel gypped,” said Wagner, who skated two programs without any falls and punched the air with delight at the end of her free skate.
However, she ended up behind Lipnitskaia, who fell in each of her programs; Mao Asada, who fell heavily during a disastrous short program; and fourth-place Gracie Gold, the fellow American who tumbled to the ice on Thursday.
Wagner appeared to take particular exception to Lipnitskaia’s scores and claimed the judging controversy would damage figure skating’s popularity.
“People don’t want to watch a sport where you see people fall down and somehow score above someone who goes clean,” she said. “It is confusing and we need to make it clear for you. [Yahoo Sports]
You can read more at the link, but I think it is a good point that the judges scores should not be anonymous. Does anyone know why the scores are kept secret?
I do think that Ashley Wagner comes across as a sore loser the way she presented her criticism after the competition. Especially when Wagner is lucky to even be on the US figure skating team when she was beaten out at the US National Championships by Mirai Nagasu who was left off the team despite finishing fourth in the 2010 Winter Olympics. It is probably best to wait a while and let your emotions cool down before addressing the media over such a controversial topic.
UPDATE #2: You can read much more about the controversy and the evidence that the media is digging up that Kim Yuna was robbed of an Olympic Gold Medal at the below link:
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