U.S. Olympian Ashley Wagner and many members of the figure skating community are saying Russia’s figure skaters have received inflated scores in Sochi because of biased judging.
Wagner skated two clean programs, not falling in either performance, but she placed seventh overall in the individual competition Thursday night, behind 15-year-old Russian skater Julia Lipnitskaia, who claimed fifth place despite falling in both her short and long programs.
“I feel gypped,” Wagner said, via Yahoo! Sports. “People don’t want to watch a sport where you see people fall down and somehow score above someone who goes clean. It is confusing, and we need to make it clear for you.”
Russia’s 17-year-old Adelina Sotnikova surprised the world when she won the gold medal Thursday night, defeating reigning champion Yuna Kim of South Korea, who took silver.
“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, via USA Today. “Not one person in skating I’ve talked to said that’s the way it should have gone.”
Russia’s unexpected gold has brought the process of selecting judges into question.
Nine judges, appointed randomly from a group of 13, oversee the short and long figure skating programs. Eight of those judges work only one of the programs, so replacement judges are chosen to evaluate the other. The two replacement judges might have favored the Russians, according to USA Today.
“People need to be held accountable,” Wagner said. “They need to get rid of the anonymous judging. … This sport needs to be held more accountable with its system if they want people to believe in it.”
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