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ISU receives South Korea complaint over figure skating judging

Apr 16, 2014, 4:17 AM EDT

Yuna Kim Getty Images

South Korea has officially filed its complaint over figure skating judging at the Sochi Olympics to the International Skating Union, nearly two months after Yuna Kim won silver behind Russian Adelina Sotnikova in a controversial decision.

The Korea Skating Union (KSU) filed a complaint over the makeup of the judging panel for the women’s free skate rather than the results of the competition, according to Yonhap News, reporting that the KSU believes the panel’s composition was in violation of the ISU’s ethical rules.

One of the judges from Sochi is married to a top Russian figure skating federation official and was seen hugging Sotnikova shortly after she won gold. Another was suspended one year as being part of the 1998 Olympic ice dance fixing scandal.

The Russian figure skating vice president headed the three-person technical panel that decided on difficulty levels (and therefore points rewarded) for skaters’ spins and jumps.

“We are not perfect, as also the skaters are not perfect,” ISU president Ottavio Cinquanta said in March, according to Reuters. “Sometimes, they do a mistake. Mistakes are possible, because we are human beings.”

The next step could take three weeks — deciding whether the ISU or the Court of Arbitration for Sport will handle the matter — according to the German press agency DPA, quoting an ISU official.

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  1. fdsa7410 - Apr 16, 2014 at 6:28 AM

    Look at that Cinquanta’s comment. He still doesn’t know what is problem. If skaters make mistakes, they pay the penalty on their scores. It’s just the rules of the game. But if judges make mistakes, they spoil the game. It’s a complete disaster. In this time to solve this scandal, ISU must apologize to skating fans, and give her gold medal to Yuna Kim.

  2. themainfan - Apr 16, 2014 at 9:06 AM

    Everyone knows it’s logical that if something is found wrong with the judging panel the next step is to strip sotnikova of the good and give it to Yuna! The result can’t be “judges wrongly colluded to give gold to sotnikova” and sotnikova keeps the gold! Isu will probably ban sotnikova from competition if she doesn’t give the gold back. But then she just won’t compete and keep the gold. Or the isu will just let her keep he gold and remove her from the record books and give gold to Yuna,silver kostner and bronze Gold.

    • gymtruthteller - Apr 16, 2014 at 7:02 PM

      Why would Gold get bronze? Adelina deserved at least a bronze medal. Gracie sucks

  3. xpyonpyon - Apr 16, 2014 at 1:45 PM

    I pity Adelina. It may be that she simply tried to win the gold. She skated good but really NOT as great and artistic as Yuna’s! I want them to give back the gold the queen but I hope Adelina’s career will not be affected and she will continue to skate and compete. She has great potential and very young. But during Sochi, Yuna was definitely better! Seriously!

  4. psummers890613 - Apr 16, 2014 at 5:21 PM

    I still can’t fathom how Cinquanta could leave the two infamous quotes;

    1. “Would you rather have an idiot acting as a judge than a good one who is a relative of the manager of a federation?”
    um… Didn’t ISU say they followed the protocol every step of the way and there was nothing wrong with the judging in Ladies Figure Skating event? How can we trust that statement if head of ISU has that thought in his mind? He’s actually admitting that he’s willing to overlook rule 121 “conflict of interest” when needed. And it’s exactly what happened at Sochi.

    2. “We are not perfect, as also the skaters are not perfect. Sometimes, they do a mistake. Mistakes are possible, because we are human beings.”
    First of all, it’s funny that Cinquanta himself admitted there was a chance that judges made mistakes. – What disgusts me is that Cinquanta can say that so openly because he knows people can’t do anything about it – ISU rule makes sure the marks given by the judges can’t be challenged or protested in any way. (Unless there was a calculation error) And anonymous judging systems lets the judges off the hook from being pinpointed for any mistakes they make. Judges are supposed to be professionals who are paid to follow the exact protocols as they judge a skater’s performance. They are supposed to be well-educated on how to judge objectively and accurately based on the performance. They should be competent enough to catch flutz, pre/under-rotation, full blade take off and award correct levels on the elements like step sequence. They also should be able to acknowledge quality of execution when they see the performances. They are human, yes, but the way Cinquanta rationalizes and defends the technical/judging panel’s mistakes only raises questions as to whether ISU is doing everything in their power to minimize those mistakes. Where’s the infallible ISU judging system that makes sure those errors are minimized? I looked at their guidelines of giving out GoE – and I was laughing at how vague the guidelines are. They have a bunch of checklist (which by the way have no detailed explanation as to how a checklist can be satisfied – and they say “It is at the
    discretion of each Judge to decide on the number of bullets/checklist for any upgrade, but general recommendations are as follows;”)

    Cinquanta needs to wake up and face reality – His long reign founded upon power, connections, and sponsorship, are crashing down…

  5. jamesduffue324 - Apr 16, 2014 at 6:37 PM

    Please PLEASE purify the figure skating world by giving back Yuna kim her gold medal. Seriously, Sotnikova’s new gala program screams “get her in rehab.” I can’t believe the judges think she would be representative of an Olympic Champion. Sotnikova lacks grace and humility. Her performance was at best bronze. Everyone who understands figure skating knows that Kim and Kostner was robbed. If you want people to watch figure skating, you have to make the results match the performance.
    Don’t understand how Sotnikova could earn more than 74 points for a triple loop triple loop combination in her short program. My goodness.

  6. jamesduffue324 - Apr 16, 2014 at 6:37 PM

    Hope NBC coverage of the figure skating scandal improves….

  7. ryanbellemy - Apr 16, 2014 at 6:41 PM

    It’s time for this circus to end. Anyone who follows figure skating knows that Kim Yuna was wrongful denied her second gold medal. The judges were clearly wrong and it doesn’t make sense to live by those errant scores.

  8. dellaman - Apr 17, 2014 at 3:30 PM

    The fault here does not lie with Sotnikova, who is just a seventeen year old girl with a dream that came true for her. The fault lies with a clearly and blatantly biased judging panel that padded the scores of the Russian competitor they favored. When you step back and look at the composition of the panel it looks ridiculous. Not only did you have the previously banned Ukranian judge and the wife of the Russian skating federation President on the panel, there were also two judges from countries that were members of the former Soviet Union. Add to that having the vice president of the Russian skating federation leading the technical panel and you have a completely unacceptable and unfair balance, which resulted in a highly inflated score for Sotnikova. The fact that Sotnikova received virtually the same score for her free program in Sochi as Yuna Kim did for her free skate in Vancouver is laughable. The former was a pretty good skate while the latter was transcendent perfection. It is only when you live in a bubble like Chinquanta and other members of the ISU do that you can attempt to justify such a thing. Good for the Korean Skating union for pushing forward on this. The ISU needs to have their feet held to the fire for such a insult to competitive fairness. I doubt they will be handing the gold medal over to Yuna Kim (even though she deserves it), but it will be interesting to see how it plays out.

  9. catlovers88 - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:18 PM

    Seriously…….Cinquanta made irresponsible comments….yaa once skaters made mistake…they rec’d harsh score from judge…however, when judge panel made mistake…then, whole competitons can be ruined…. Under Cinquanta, notorious subjective judging system, favoritism and Cinquanta wants to remove short program; Cinquanta held the position too long. ISU needs a new ledership..

  10. mckenzie4351 - Apr 21, 2014 at 2:49 PM

    Sotnikova really did not deserve to win. Her performance lacked grace and fluidity. Her Olympic win was really the product of bribery from the Russian Skating Federation. Her career is over and she will never be able to redeem herself… It’s quite sad how the Figure Skating world is now dominated by politics and not by pure athleticism. Poor Kim and Koster, Sotnikova should have been grateful for bronze. This whole thing disgusts me.

  11. mckenzie4351 - Apr 21, 2014 at 2:49 PM

    Sotnikova really did not deserve to win.

  12. fdsa7410 - Apr 18, 2014 at 4:33 AM

    Are you kidding me? Nancy Kerrigan had never got world champion and olympic champion title. Yuna Kim was reigning world champion and olympic champion at that time. It’s impossible for rookie with flawed performance win to champion with flawless performance in this sport.

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