Russian skater Adelina Sotnikova pulled off a stunner yesterday by defeating South Korea’s Yuna Kim to win the Olympic gold in ladies’ figure skating – and not just by a razor-thin margin, either.
Sotnikova’s free skate was considered more technically sound by the judges, and she earned a score of 149.95. Kim’s free skate looked every bit as strong but only netted a 144.19 – nearly six points behind Sotnikova.
Final total score: Sotnikova 224.59, Kim 219.11.
Sotnikova’s victory instantly triggered debate over the sport’s judging system. Among those people talking was Team USA’s most outspoken skater, Ashley Wagner.
The American said she was “speechless” at the result. But instead, she proved that she was anything but.
“People need to be held accountable,” Wagner said after the event. “They need to get rid of anonymous judging. There are many changes that need to come to this sport if we want a fan base.”
Adding she saw “a lot of very nice, decent landings” from Kim – who announced her retirement after earning the silver behind Sotnikova – Wagner noted that “people don’t want to watch a sport where you watch people fall down and somehow score above someone who goes clean.”
“It’s confusing and we need to make it clear for people.”
After a third clean run in Sochi in the free skate, Wagner finished seventh but two spots behind Russian rising star Yulia Liptnitskaia, who fell for a second consecutive day yesterday.
Wagner’s not the only one frustrated over the judging. As you’d probably figure, fans of Kim in her home country were left fuming over the decision.
Additionally, more than one million people have signed a Change.org petition to have an “open investigation” into the judging process.