More on the women’s controversy

It’s unfortunate that the story about the women’s event wasn’t just about Adelina Sotnikova barrelling out of nowhere to prove a point: that she counted, that she should be noticed, that the Russian federation had taken her too lightly by not having her skate in the team event, with all the hype surrounding the 15-year-old wonderkid, Julia Lipnitskaia. Russia put all of its eggs in that wonderful little basket, but you know how bandwagons work.

That alone would have been a fabulous story of triumph for the forgotten Sotnikova, but the suspect judging in Sochi took that away from her, probably forever. Now, somehow, she’s made to answer to what those judges may have done, by all sorts of nastiness on her Facebook page. It will trail her for a long time. And it won’t be fun. And it won’t be her fault.

There has been so much chatter over the past couple of days and so many misunderstandings about what happened in the women’s event. There is no mistaking the fact that a Russian, Alexander Lakernik, was in charge of the technical panel and as controller, could overrule any of the decisions made by the specialists in awarding levels of difficulty – and those levels make a big difference in the point system.  (Olga Baranova, the assistant technical specialist from Finland, is by all accounts, quite good at her job.)

Who in their right mind in the ISU thought it a good idea to put a Russian in such control of an event, at an event in Russia? Intriguing things often happen at skating events in Russia, where the scores don’t always match what happens on the ice. Back in 1978, the International Skating Union suspended all judges from the Soviet Union for one year, because any attempt to suspend one at a time for nationalistic judging just didn’t seem to have any effect at stopping it.

And there’s no mistaking the fact that Ukrainian Yuri Balkov found his way onto a panel after the disgrace of the 1998 Olympics, where he was recorded listing the order of finish of the dance event to another judge. These sorts of people should never judge again, if the International Skating Union doesn’t want to embarrass itself, no less at a major event like the Olympics. You don’t see judges suspended any more. You see judges with marks against their names be demoted to a lower level, but they can work their way back up again. After all, Irina Nechkina, an Ajerbaijan judge who lives in Moscow, was taken off the dance panel at the Turin Olympics for some bad judging calls, but was back on it for Vancouver and Sochi in the dance event.

And there’s no mistaking the fact that Alla Shekhovtseva, married to the Russian federation president Valentin Piseev, somehow found her way onto that women’s panel. The name Alla, alone, sparks controversy. She’s always played an active role in judging circles and has always been very vocal about her opinions. And I’ll never forget the sight of her on a TV camera, embracing Sotnikova in the bowels of the rink after the kid won the gold medal. The optics are terrible.

At the Vancouver Olympics, Alla judged ice dancing, not the other events. She’d been a dance judge for years. And she played a huge role in Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin dancing to an aboriginal theme that sparked such controversy and drew condemnation from aboriginal groups around the world. Alla pushed for that routine, thought it marvellous, while other dance coaches in Russia, according to one, rolled their eyes and knew that was a program that could never win. Yet, Alla’s voice is strong and things got to the point that it was too late to change it.

Alla doesn’t judge dance any more because of an interesting turn of events in Russia, following the country’s embarrassment at the Vancouver Olympics, having won no gold medals at all in figure skating. High-ranking Russian politicians wanted heads to roll. Many Russians were hoping that Piseev would abdicate his post as president, feeling that he had neglected to develop skating at a time of tough economic change. Incredibly, Piseev announced that he was stepping down as president. Other notable Russians lined up to win the position, including Anton Sikharulidze, the Russian who won Olympic gold in Salt Lake City. Alexander Gorshkov (1976 Olympic champion in dance) stepped down from his long-time role as chairman of the ISU’s ice dance technical committee to take a run at the post as well.

But then everything changed at the last minute. Before the election, Piseev created a new position for himself in the federation, called something like director general. Gorshkov won the vote for president, but he also lost power. No longer did he sit with the ISU, but now he had to work under Piseev, who is still all-powerful in the Russian federation. When Sikharulidze heard about Piseev’s new position, he dropped out of the race for president, feeling that he would have to dance to Piseev’s tune.

More changes happened. Now there was a vacancy on the ISU dance technical committee. And Alla decided to run for it. She could not have run for it if Gorshkov was still on the ISU committee.  With him out of the way, she got a seat on the technical committee. It meant she could no longer judge ice dancing.

But it does mean she can judge the other disciplines. And there she was, in Sochi, judging the women’s event.

Much is being made of two things: that France was on that dance panel, too, and after all, wasn’t a French judge conspiring with Russians at the scandal of the Salt Lake City Olympics? However, just because France did it once, doesn’t mean they did it again. Apparently they had something to gain at Salt Lake City: a gold medal in ice dancing. In Sochi, France did not have a medal contender in the women’s event. And it doesn’t mean that all French judges work the way that Marie La Gougne did in 2002. There are lots of good, honest judges in France.


And the old eastern block thing? That wasn’t always a given. One former Russian competitor once told me that judges from the Soviet Union and its satellites used to make agreements on placements, but the block didn’t always sit in solidarity. The Soviet powers always tried to negotiate, he said, and it didn’t always work. People are different. Some are strong. Some are weak to suggestion. “Some of them could be frightened into doing it,” he said.

And the old block theory? That was necessary under the old system, when the winner was decided on a majority of votes. Now it’s not so necessary. Although the more the merrier, one judge can affect the results. Two can certainly make a difference. And hey, look at those wicked GOE marks that came from two judges for almost all of Sotnikova’s elements. All of those +3s helps to bump up the marks. And witness the low GOE that Yuna Kim got from one judge in particular for almost all of her elements. A string of +1s helps put distance between the two skaters, point by point. And those points all add up, particularly if you lose levels of difficulty, too. Just like in the short program, Kim was awarded only level three on the same two elements: layback spin and footwork sequence. No, Kim didn’t do as many jump elements as Sotnikova, but she should have been able to maximize what she did through GOE because of her quality. They don’t call her Queen Yuna for nothing. Even two-time Olympic champion Katarina Witt was nonplussed about the results. She was in the rink and thought the winner should have been Kim.

Much is also being made of the fact that Sotnikova stumbled out of the last double jump of a three-jump combination. Geez, say some, she shouldn’t have won because of that, while Kim made no such stumbles. The current judging system doesn’t work that way. You get points for what you do accomplish and it all adds up. A stumble will take away some GOE points, but you can make up for it with other elements.

The real wild cards in the scoring system are the GOE, the levels of diffciulty and the program components of the presentation marks that include skating skills, transition and linking footwork and movement; performance and execution, choreography and composition, and interpretation. For one thing, I don’t think Sotnikova interpreted her music with the subtlety shown by Kim, Carolina Kostner and Mao Asada. Asada got some tough performance marks too. For a skilled artist, it’s hard to believe she got a mark as low as 7.50 from one judge, the same judge who didn’t give her more than 8.50.

Yes, it’s the program component marks that bother me the most, putting Sotnikova only fractions of a point behind Kim and a couple of points ahead of Kostner. Those marks just don`t make sense. Are we supposed to be impressed by a skater waving at a crowd, to get them stirred up, as Sotnikova did? It’s fun, and a nice moment, but does “Habanera” warrant it? Did we see a touch of “Habanara” in her movement? What we saw was an exciting display of athleticism.

It doesn`t seem like the International Skating Union or the International Olympic Committee is listening. They watch and don`t understand the more ethereal parts of artistry and beauty of the blade and body movement. IOC spokesman Mark Adams thinks all the hubbub about Sotnikova’s marks is  “hypothetical” at this point and “my personal point of view would be to congratulate a fantastic performance,” he said.  He admits he doesn’t know much about skating.

Behind the scenes, Kim was in tears, bewildered about what had just happened. The South Koreans have started a world-wide online petition, asking not for a gold medal for Kim, because the medal isn’t important to her. They are only asking for fairness and an investigation into what happened. It doesn’t seem to be too much to ask. People want transparency. They don’t want to walk away from the Olympics with doubt in their minds, like they did at Salt Lake City.




42 thoughts on “More on the women’s controversy

  1. I wish I could write as amazing as you do. I am stunned at the system for when it works it is scrutinized but when it is manipulated in the behind the scenes it just hurts. The women skaters were amazing and I personally think our sport is one of the most amazing sports on this earth. I wish people would let it happen in a fair manner and let the athletes win or lose fairly with out negative human involvement. It seems as bad as elections all over the world that are manipulated for people to win. Let the system evolve into an entity that will make our sport fair. Soon it looks like the Olympics is going to become a reality tv show at this rate. And we know how fair that is sometimes. I believe in fair play and equality for all when it comes to sports and especially clean sports too. I pray one day it will all work out. Good luck to all and thank you Bev for your insights, you are amazing.

  2. I’m astounded how open and boastful certain members of the Russian federation are in regards to cheating. That Russian judge seems particularly clueless and stupid, though when you are literally in bed with crooks, what can you expect? Tarnished gold means absolutely NOTHING. Way to go!

  3. Wonderful article. But, you neglect to mention one important thing. Nothing will change with the sport unless there is a change in leadership. How is it that Cinquanta can be re-elected time and again to hold the position of President for 20 years? Should there not be term limits to his tenure? And how is he re-elected when he shows total incompetence and indifference, as evidenced by his comments in the press that he is unaware of any controversy and “would you rather have a knowledgable judge than one who is less experienced that does not have a conflict of interest.” Does he seriously think that people buy that? Surely they are other experienced technical controllers and judges who do not have a conflict of interest that would be available to judge such a significant event? The problem is not the judging system itself, but fact that the ISUSupports the participation of judges/officials who are either incompetent (as in the case of Yuri Balkov) or those who have a vested interest in the outcome of the event. But then, they have the audacity to speak with the press and claim “there is no problem here. No problem with the results. No controversy” Seriously? We should expect nothing less given that this was Cinquanta’s response to the judging controversy at the 1998 Olympic Ice Dance event and the 2002 Olympic Pairs event. But I ask, how long is this clown going to be allowed to lead the ISU when his leadership shows such incompetence and corruption? Nothing will change with the current leadership – why change when it is in their political and financial best interest to deny any problems and continue with business as usual…

    • Another problem? Since the breakup of the Soviet Union into a large number of separate countries, each with a separate vote in the ISU Congress, you can see the power – and pressure – that an elected president goes through.

      • Bev, thanks for posting this article, your insights are interesting and I appreciate you taking the time to do so. I am not an authority on this sport, but got caught up in the controversy by everyone around me. So bear with me if my comments are naive.

        According to the ISU website, there appears to be 67 member nations. Of these, 11 can be classified as former Soviet Republics. Another 6 can be labeled as former Warsaw Pact nations, even though all are now in the EU. And 7 are either communist or former communist states that were not in the Warsaw Pact. So to my eye 24 nations can be thought of as the old ‘east-bloc’. And in reality a lot of those 24 never had cozy relations with Russia, and many are now EU.

        But with 24, that would give this bloc 36% of the total, and much less if you only factored the former Soviet Republics. I don’t know the bylaws of the ISU, but off hand I don’t see how this group could control so much. If other members have had problems with Cinquanta or other issues, it would appear they have more than enough votes to rectify things.

        As an outsider I don’t see how an organization can be so corrupted when my side has almost 2/3rds the vote.

      • Have you looked at the minutes from the last Congress? Wasn’t that when the term of the Council was extended? Maybe it gives an idea of how crap like that passes.

    • Your presentation of how the actual scoring system works as well as the powers and responsibilities of technical controller are at odds with how they are expressed in the ISU handbook: –

      Page 62 – 63

      The technical controller does not have the singular power to over-rule the scoring of either technical specialist. The score has to be agreed by at least two members of the panel including any corrections the controller wishes to make to the score arrived at by the specialists.

  4. Unless and until the ISU publishes which scores belong to which judge, we still have one foot in the old 6.0 system.
    To sound like a broken record, it is the judging that needs to be fixed, not the skaters

  5. I’ve lost all faith in the sport. It is just utter nonsense that Adelina got PCS that is equal to Kim Yuna. This is not about Yuna losing the gold or dissing Adelina. This is about how PCS should be scored, and what this competition showed is that PCS is just too subjective and manipulative to be considered as an objective scoring tool. I think Yuna Kim was way better. But Adelina’s PCS were really high. Much more than I expected. It was so close to Yuna’s scores in Vancouver. It makes no sense. I am looking at the SP and LP protocols and had Yuna received level 4 for her step sequences she would have won the gold. No idea how Adelina got level 4 (both in SP and LP, no one else did), and everybody but Yuna (Adelina, Mao, Carolina) got level 4 in LP. Yuna got level 3 in both SP and LP. The tech panel was absolutely determined. Can’t take this seriously.

  6. Its obvious that the competition was fixed. The other Russian figure skater, Juliya had 27 3+ GOEs, whereas Yuna had 13 and Kostner had 12. That means Juliya had 3 more 3+ GOEs then both Yuna and Kostner combined! Yuna is known for her textbook jumps and Kostner is a skilled veteran. Both Yuna and Kostner skated both their routines near flawlessly, yet their combined number of 3+ GOE scores could not beat that of one single Russian skater who fell twice!

    How did they manage this? The leader of the three man technical panel, Alexander Lakernik, was Vice President of the Russian Skating Federation. The technical panel “makes all the crucial decisions about the difficulty levels of a skater’s spins and whether jumps are under-rotated or downgraded, among other things” Add to that Judge Yuri Balkov, who was previously suspended for corruption in a previous Olympics, and Judge Alla Shekhovtseva, who is married to the Director of Russian Figure Skating, and it all starts to make sense . . .

    • You suggest that the fix was in because of Lakernik. But Lakernik and his 3 judge panel are not the ones giving out the ‘3+’s on the score sheet. They are the ones analyzing the jumps and give the “e” and “<". So Lakernik and his crew would not have been responsible for the preponderance of '3+'s for the Russians. Looking at Kim's free skate score, I don't see that she got dinged with "e" or "<". So Lakernik would not have hurt her. I assume you believe Sotnikova needed some on her sheet.

      These '3+'s you list that favor the Russians are only from the free skate judges, not the technical judges. The Wire quoted USA Today as “insinuating that Russia, Ukraine, Estonia, and Slovakia may have been working together to inflate Sotnikova’s scores. Four judges would be more than enough to swing and game the trimmed mean. “

      Whether those four were in cahoots is yet to proven, and I don’t buy the whole eastern bloc nonsense, because, a) it doesn’t exist anymore, and b) most of those nations dumped Russia and embraced the West. Also, don’t forget the West voted in bloc-like fashion too. Katarina Witt was supposedly one of the greatest ever. But look at the judging from 1988 and you can see the US and the West went against her. And given the anti-Russian hysteria that has been whipped up lately, it is conceivable the Russians might have thought there was a bias against them.

      Except for the Slovak, none of the suspected judges that USA Today listed were on the short program. None of the other eight would be considered even remotely pro Russian. In fact the Russians might have a case that those judges were stacked against them. Yet these short program judges put the Russian girl in a virtual dead heat with Kim after the short program. So even among these judges, they recognized that Sotnikova, despite not having been a world beater before, was the equal of Kim at this stage.

      That’s significant because much of the argument against Sotnikova is that she has never done so well before so the fix must have been in. But after the short program, even the Western oriented judges found her to be the equal of Kim.

      So is it that big of a stretch that she won the free skate? She went in with a higher TES than any other skater, did many of her jumps late in the program and had a certain charisma about her. I understand that a lot of people preferred Kim’s style. And they are certainly experts. But many experts preferred Sotnikova’s style too. So I don’t see this as a clear-cut fix. Both skaters were very close going into the final and had contrasting styles.

      To prove a fix, can anyone state if the judges were not selected according to established rules? Was Lakernik’s appointment by the book? If not, did the Americans, Koreans or any others lodge a protest? It would help your case if we could establish that the judges were selected inappropriately and other nations lodged complaints.

      Also, Beverly describes the Finnish technical judge Olga Baranova as, ” …by all accounts, quite good at her job”. But USA Today says Olga “was seen hugging members of Russia’s skating delegation beside the ice immediately after the skaters’ flower ceremony”. So is Olga a good judge who is congratulating fellow members of a close-knit international community of skating enthusiasts, or is she a pawn for the Russians?

      Since the four suspected judges will never talk, even if they are guilty, it would help your case if you can find improper procedures used to select judges, and if the other nations lodged protests at the time of those decisions.

      Without that it looks reasonable that either the Russian, South Korean or Italian could have won gold.

      • If you read the article above “There is no mistaking the fact that a Russian, Alexander Lakernik, was in charge of the technical panel and as controller, could OVERRULE any of the decisions made by the specialists in awarding levels of difficulty – and those levels make a BIG DIFFERENCE in the point system.”

        You don’t find it suspicious at all that the other Russian Skater Juliya had more 3+ GOEs than BOTH Yuna and Kostner COMBINED? Juliya fell twice, landed in fifth place, yet had three more 3+ GOEs then BOTH Yuna and Kostner (who each skated near flawlessly) COMBINED? If you don’t find that suspicious, sorry you are in obvious denial.

      • If you don’t find that suspicious, sorry you are in obvious denial.

        Tim, Look at Yulia’s score sheet from the free skate. Remember there are 9 judges, and only 4 are suspected of being cheats. However, on element 12, EIGHT of nine judges gave her a 3. She received five 3s on element 11. And that did not even include the judge whose scores were highlighted by the Wire for giving out too many 3s. On that element he gave her a 2. So that means two of the remaining five, clean judges must have given her a 3. On element 10, she received SEVEN 3s. So just on those three elements, Yulia received TWENTY 3s which is more than either Kim or Kostner for their entire programs.

        People say this is suspicious. People also say up to 4 judges were in on the fix. But if that were the case, then why would 8 of 9 judges award Yulia those twenty 3s in only three jumps? In fact, seven of the nine judges awarded her at least two 3s for those three jumps.

        That doesn’t seem like a conspiracy of four judges. It seems like a consensus and contradicts somewhat the notion that 4 judges colluded on this. This appears to show eight of the judges were very impressed.

        What is suspicious is ONE judge failed to give Yulia a 3 in those three jumps, but no one is accusing them of bias. All the other judges gave her at least one 3 for those jumps. But this judge did not.

        As for Yulia’s falls, I don’t know if these are a perfect match, but there are two elements, numbers 7 and 8, where all nine judges gave her either a -2 or a -3. So that looks like they penalized her for that.

      • You misunderstand. Lakernik was only a piece of the puzzle. The two judges in question, didn’t draw onto the short program panel, so Lakernik was by himself for that. But when all three are together, handling the levels and the GOEs and the PCS, it makes it a tour de force of a judging panel in the free skate.

  7. Thank you for your excellent article!! This figure skating needs to be out of the Olympic if the judge want to give medals whoever they want! This is absolute disrespect not only to the people who love the figure skating but also Yuna Kim who is planned to retire after the Olympic.

  8. Thank you for a wonderful article. I am so surpried by ISU’s dirty political history. Yes, people want to see justice and fairness in sports, not nasty schemes. That’s why people request an open investigation for women’s figure skating results to regain love for figure skating. Nobody would go to watch figure skating anymore if ISU changes its judging system and select fair and cleanminded judges.

  9. Sotnikova’s Olympic gala was quite ridiculous to see and proved how unpolished her skating skills are. Yuna on the other hand has proved herself to be on the every podium ever since she competed in major events from her junior years. I wonder which one was more upsetting whether this unfortunate Olympic ladies figure skating result or the one in 2008 World Figure Skating Championship. I don’t understand the frequent changes of cop and the judging criteria have shifted from strict to lax. As a figure skating fan, I’d love to see nice spirals back in the regular programs. I know I’d be gladly spend my hard earned money to watch Yuna kim skating in person but wouldn’t do the same for Sotnikova.

  10. Thank you for your wonderful article! I cannot believe the score at the any figure skating events. I really want to see justice and fairness in sports.

  11. Thank you for your insightful article. I just can’t believe that ISU would let the convicted judges back into the system. That is just outrageous!!! How can anyone enjoy figure skating with this kind of judging system when we can’t even trust the judges to do their job right? Also I agree with Bailey’s comment that it is the leaders who needs to be changed. How can the same person has been the head of ISU for 20 years? how can we expect a change when the leader himself doesn’t change???

  12. Those crooks sent the Queen away in tears. Kim has contributed immensely to this sport. She materialized the ideal figure skater that we had long dreamed to see: the perfect combination of athleticism and artistry. She said she was happy because it was over. Why does this sport have to make one of its greatest happy because she is done with this sport?

  13. Julia receives many +3s because her spins are extraordinary and have always received +3s from at least a hundred different judges across three years of international competition. One was on the level 3 step sequence among the +2 she received from the rest of the judges (it was dropped as the deviation along with one of the +2s when the scores are averaged), and a few were on the ChSq in which she performs an Ina Bauer into a spiral which is worth a few +3s. Only 4 were on jumps, 3 for her jump combinations and one on a single triple that was well-executed. Of those +3 on her jumps, only a single +3 remained after the highest and lowest were dropped, so even if they had been +2s like some of the others, the results would have been unchanged. Only a single + 3 remains for the jumps the others were on spins and the choreo. sequence which she excels at.

    • However, Yuna and Carolina were robbed of +3s on the jumps they excel at. The real real travesty was in the components. I really love watching Yulia’s programs for the way her skating flows through, mesmerizing people (obvious not all, as some have nothing better do than to constantly criticize, harping on the fact that she had three jump mistakes). However, her technical difficulty is the highest in the short program other than Yuna (and Mao, but she lost 23 TES points with her mistakes) so she has a one fall advantage on many skaters because her spins are the best. Others, like Ashley Wagner, who some people think should have placed above Yulia fail to realize that two-foot and under-rotating are mistake that are just as costly as falls because she is not executing the jumps properly. Yulia’s regular TES for her SP is 39.xx points. She received 33.xx. Anyone can use simple math to realize that she, instead of receiving 6.xx points for a triple flip, received 0 and then actually lost 0.xx points between the jump being downgraded as a double and the mandatory -1 fall deduction. The same hold true in the FS. She lost about 5-6 points for the two errors but neither jump was downgraded and the jumps were worth less points to begin with. Her possible TES when the tech panel rule against her on the lutz: 71.xx points, when they rule for her: 73.xx points. She received 66.xx points.

  14. Adelina Sotnikova’s previous years records leading up to 2013 European Championship and finally in Sochi Olympic show a clear pattern of score manipulation emerging: In 2010-2011 season, other than at the Russian Championship where she got the total score of 197.33, the average score of the other 4 world wide competitions was 172.67. In 2011-2012, again at the Russian Championship she scored 193.71 while getting the average score of 164.89 in other 6 world wide competitions. In 2012-2013, she got 190.75 at the Russian Championship but her average score for the 6 other world wide competitions she entered amounts to only 174.70. In 2013-2014 season, her 3 previous world wide competition average was again in the 170 point range at 179.27 except at the Russian Championship where she got 212.77 until at the problematic European Championship where she received 202.36.

    It was a prelude to the Sochi Olympic fiasco where she received eye popping, head shaking 224.59 points (50 point increase from the average) with the same recycled junior season program she used all year long. Performance and Interpretation of music might improve from one routine to another, but Skating Skills and Transitions, and Choreography don’t change or improve much in a matter of weeks or months with the same old routine. Sotnikova’s Sochi performance included a wrong edge take off(flutzed) as found out and judged at the 6 out of 7 previous competitions this year and also the full blade take offs in the jumps as opposed to just the toe pick take off in the toe jumps. (Julia Lipnitskaia has the same technical flaws in her jumps) By the way, she stepped out of a jump and two foot landed the jump.

    In comparison, Yuna Kim’s jumps were higher, longer, faster without 1/2 turn pre rotation of the upper body before the take off as Sotnikova and Julia Lipnitskaya’s jumps did. Kim’s air positions and the landing positions in the jumps were without equal in their text book like form and consistency. As for Sotnikova’s artistry, It is laughable that judges rewarded Sotnikova with level 4 while they gave Yuna’s step sequence level 3 which has much more speed, precise clean turns with deeper edges and variety of movements. After seeing the Olympic performance, Longtime analyst and skating legend Dick Button said in his twitter: “Sotnikova has no dance ability no performance level..”

    With the technical inferiority and artistic immaturity in her junior skater like performances, both in the short and the long, compare to that of Yuna Kim’s almost perfect performances at Sochi, Sotnikova was outrageously awarded by ISU judges.

    Betraying the trust and expert decision dependence of millions of figure skating fans and Olympic hopefuls and sports fans around the world, both Julia Lipnitskaia and Adelina Sotnikova were groomed and fraudulently over scored and positioned just in case one will fail to accomplish the Olympic Scheme of the corrupted ISU in behalf of Russia. If one Russian skater had an explosion of such a score increase, it is unbelievable in the eyes of millions. But when two of them had it at the same time, it was beyond unbelief. Both of them had almost a parallel line of unexplained increases in their Program Component Score in the graph shown at the following link: It is just another piece of puzzle added on to the growing body of evidence that ISU figure skating as we know it has come to it’s demise in it’s integrity and general support from the public.

    Due to ISU’s internal corruption and arrogant contempt toward the public out cry for fairness in the sport many would be Yuna Kim of the future was hoping to dedicate their lives at, I see only those who are naïve or uninformed are willing to sacrifice much of their precious time and effort and lives into a sport that is rotten to it’s core. Those NBC commentators who were praising the performance of Yuna Kim profusely during her performance at the Olympic and then just kept silent right after the final score was revealed or even defended the high score of Sotnikova’s score should be ashamed of themselves. In my eyes, they are just profitieers of the sport of figure skating who do not care anything about the integrity of the sport which they claim have been an important part of their lives as ex- figure skaters themselves.


  16. Adelina does not have a lutz. it is a flutz, and should be degraded in value due to wrong edge. that and the ridiculous level 4 she got in foot work is the biggest robbery in skating history. It’s like a junior skater beating one of the greatest skater in history. I am totally nauseated and sick. So she made errors and was 0.11 behinds Yuna’s World record skate when Yuna won the gold at the last Olympics? This is ridiculous, sorry.

  17. **********************************************************************************************************************************************

    Please join a rapidly growing Facebook page called “Golden Yuna,” which is a growing world-wide movement to bring about the return of integrity and fairness to the sport of figure skating, as well as to bring justice for Yuna Kim for her gold-worthy performance at Sochi. Join at this link:
    (please log into your Facebook account first)

    Thanks, and see you there!


  18. It proved that figureskating scoring was a joke. But now the judges can also fully hide behind 100% secure anonymous scoring system.
    So corruption is easier.
    Great analysis now coming out from everyone. But as you can see, Russians are blind.
    I can’t stand Russian reasoning.
    The argument is not who is a better skater. The only argument is the judging was biased&scoring was inflated. Not only for Adelina but clearly also for Yulia! It certainly is bizarre enough for investigation. I find Yulia’s placement after short quite bizarre as well.
    Falls&errors must be severely penalized in the future!

    • I’m just going to go ahead and list some of the facts instead of talking nonsense like ‘she skated with more passion’ or ‘she showed more heart on the ice’.  Fact #1 – Technical judging panel was led by the vice president of the Russian skating federation, Alexander Lakernik. Fact #2 – The Russian judge, Alla Shekhovtseva, is the wife of the general director of the Russian figure skating federation, Valentin Pissev. Fact #3 – The Ukrainian judge, Yuri Balkov, has a history of fixing the ice dancing competition at the Nagano Olympics. Fact #4 – Ok, so Sotnikova had one more jump than the Kim; but Mao Asada had more jumps than Sotnikova and ended up with 7 points less, landing on the 6th place. In case you didn’t know, this game is not all about the number of jumps. Fact #5 – Sotnikova has no history of winning any Worlds, European, or Grand Prix for the past 3 years. In fact, she received about 20 points more for the Program Component Score (PCS) with the exact same program on the Olympics compared to the game that happened just 2 months ago. PCS is different from Technical Element Score that may depend on short-term improvements on jumps or spins; this increase is simply not within the acceptable range of variability.  Finally, to those who pretend to be experts in figure skating and calling protesters ignorant, you must think you know the art of figure skating better than the two-time Olympic figure skating gold medalists Katarina Witt (“Shame Gold Medal, Yuna Kim is a real queen.”) and Dick Button (“Sotnikova was energetic, strong, commendable, but not a complete skater. I fear I will never be allowed back in Russia again.”), and these comments are just a fraction of criticisms from ‘real experts’ all around the world.  I don’t mean to bring down any one of the great athletes. What makes me angry are the people who bring down a legendary athlete who had gracefully stepped out of the rink, to justify the corrupted madness this entire situation is.

  19. How to manipulate scores in Figure Skating? Scandal Sochi Olympic 2014.

    Is it a “coincidence” that Adelina Sotnikova and a judge journeyed the Olympic season together?

    History Repeats Itself: Figure Skating Scandal in Sochi.

  20. People who are new to figure skating and don’t know much about how scoring works think that Yuna had an easier program and Sotnikova was more technical – and that’s why Sotnikova won. This argument is coming only by looking at the base value scores. Yes, Yuna had a lower base value score for the free skate but she had a higher base value score in short program.
    and in total, their SP + LP base value scores differ only by 1.44. This small score difference has posed no problems to Yuna before (as demonstrated by multiple times in the past). Why is that? Because she makes up for this with other scores like GOE and PCS.
    We not only watch the sport for techinical skills but also artistry, how the skater interprets the music, how much control she has over each of the program element, etc. Yuna is known as the “textbook jumper” because she is skilled at executing all the jumps exactly how they are supposed to be jumped (GOE). (because of her quality. They don’t call her Queen Yuna for nothing.) Even two-time Olympic champion Katarina Witt was nonplussed about the results. She was in the rink and thought the winner should have been Kim. She is also known for her poise and how expressive she is with the choreography (PCS).
    In Sochi, she was severely underscored in GOE and PCS and Sotnikova was overscored. Pay attention to how Sotnikova executes her jumps. She doesn’t have great flow in and out of the jump, she has a slanted axis in air, she under-rotates, had a wobbly and shaky landings possibly two-footed, stepped out of a jump, AND she takes off on the wrong edge (inner edge) on Lutz (called a flutz, or cheating lutz). In the past, she has been called on this and recieved wrong edge calls and got negative GOEs but not in Sochi. If you look at her lutz in slow motion, you can see that she prepares for the jump with the correct outer edge but actually jumps/takes off the ice with the inner edge. Furthermore, the Triple Toeloop in combination with the Lutz was underrotated. She was rewarded for this wrong jump with GOEs. And the step-out mistake that got -0.9GOE?
    Also, Sotnikova recieved level 4 for the step sequence while Yuna got level 3. (It should have been completely opposite) Just watch both their performances and look at the sequence yourself. Sotnikova just flings her arms around a lot and moves her free leg but does not have good speed or acceleration during it, no deep clean edges compared to Kim, lacks effortlessness and flow.
    AND, with respect to PCS, Sotnikova jumped almost 20 points in 6 months. That just does not happen. To quote Kurt Browning, “I was shocked. What, suddenly, she just became a better skater overnight? I don’t know what happened.”. Sotnikova, in the LP, did ATTEMPT a more difficult program but did not execute it properly to justify the grades she got.
    ARTISTRY COMES ONLY AFTER MASTERING SKILLS AND TECHNIQUES. Yuna kim wasn’t just a “ballerina on ice”. She delivered the perfect combination of athleticism and artistry and was not rewarded properly.



    Brian boitano has said in his interview with CNN, we also believe that “Kim’s score should not have been so close to Sotnikova’s after the short program and that is the gap that should not have been bridged so that Yuna Kim would have been a two time Olympic champion.”

    Also notice that even though Kim’s short program was “more difficult” judging from the base value of the jump elements that advances Sotnikova’s by 1.90 points, this didn’t seem to have been reflected as loyally as what those who defend Sotnikova’s free program score like to say, since the final scores after the short program were only separated by 0.28 in Kim’s advantange.

    The NYT’ claim that Sotnikova won because “her combination had a much higher base value because she chose to do the most difficult double jump (while) the double jump Kim chose is one of the easiest, so it has a low base value”, therefore; faces a challenge to establish itself especially given that Kim’s short program had a higher base value.

    No, Sotnikova didn’t win by the 5.48 total point difference because her program was “more difficult”. She won because the judges “subjectively” unanimously thought that she executed her elements EXCEEDINGLY BETTER than Kim, then the reigning Olympic Champion and the current world champion, and added that much GOE to her protocol.

    Out of the 108 different GOE pts received from the nine judges on the twelve elements in free skating, Sotnikova received a whooping thirty-three 3 GOE pts(the highest), and only nine of the 1 GOE pts. While many believe that Kim’s free skating was near perfect, only thirtheen of the Kim’s was marked with 3 GOE pts by the judges. Forty-one of them was marked with 1 GOE pts.

    • Accoridng to technical score,Sotnikova’s long program is difficult than Yuna Kim. But she didn’t do it well. [Unstable landing(Two-feet landing), Flutz jump(cheating lutz jump by using inside edge(must be judged Wrong edge), Under-rotation, step-level..]
      Then Yuna Kim’s short program was more difficult than Sotnikova . And the score was almost same. How do you explain this based on ‘difficult program’ theory? Yuna Kim didn’t make a mistake. (long&short program)
      The one thing you have to know is that a lot of successive gold medalist won the competition without many jumps than silver medalist. The Important thing is not the quantity but the quality of jump!

    • NY Times reported that Sotnikova won over Kim “point by point” using the overall technical element score — the sum total of base value and grade of execution– as the support for their claim.

      However, as we have seen, that argument is flawed in various aspects. Further, as noted in many other media reports, there is something suspicious about the judging panel, and the judges awarded exceedingly generous marks for the Russian athlete.

      The fact that Sotnikova received the unmatched number of GOE 3s out of all skaters as well as the exceptionally high PCS would mean that her Olympic program was one of the most groundbreaking, revolutionary masterpieces(if not unprecedented) performed since the new scoring system was implemented.

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