International Skating Union issues statement on judging system

Adelina Sotnikova
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With yet another debate on figure skating’s judging system underway after Adelina Sotnikova’s upset of Yuna Kim in the Olympic ladies’ competition last night, the International Skating Union has issued a statement on the matter.

The statement is as follows:

The ISU is strongly committed to conducting performance evaluations strictly and fairly and has adequate procedures in place to ensure the proper running of the sporting competitions. The officiating judges were selected by random drawing from a pool of 13 potential judges. All judges in an event represent different ISU member federations. The Ladies’ free skating panel included judges from Canada, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, Slovakia and Ukraine. To avoid exaggerated markings, the highest and the lowest scores entered by the judges are excluded to produce the final score. The technical panel determines the elements of each performed program. The judges add a mark, grading the quality of the skater’s execution of the elements so identified. The technical marks and the artistic presentation marks are added together to produce the final score of the skater.

The ISU has not received any official protest with regard to the Ladies’ Free Skating event or any other event held during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games and is confident in the high quality and integrity of the ISU judging system.

Sotnikova earned a free skate score that was almost six points higher than that of Kim, enabling her to become the first Russian to win the ladies’ gold in front of a raucous home crowd.

The result was a relatively surprising one, and it caused U.S. figure skater Ashley Wagner to demand that “people need to be held accountable” and that the sport get rid of anonymous judging.

Over one million people have also signed a Change.org petition asking for an “open investigation” into the judging process.

The ISU’s current system was adopted in 2004 following the pairs’ figure skating scandal at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. It became mandatory at all international competitions starting in the 2006 season, which included that year’s Torino Olympics.

Eliud Kipchoge, two races shy of his target, to make Boston Marathon debut

Eliud Kipchoge Berlin Marathon
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World record holder Eliud Kipchoge will race the Boston Marathon for the first time on April 17.

Kipchoge, who at September’s Berlin Marathon lowered his world record by 30 seconds to 2:01:09, has won four of the six annual major marathons — Berlin, Tokyo, London and Chicago.

The 38-year-old Kenyan has never raced Boston, the world’s oldest annual marathon dating to 1897, nor New York City but has repeated in recent years a desire to enter both of them.

Typically, he has run the London Marathon in the spring and the Berlin Marathon in the fall.

Kipchoge’s last race in the U.S. was the 2014 Chicago Marathon, his second of 10 consecutive marathon victories from 2014 through 2019.

He can become the first reigning men’s marathon world record holder to finish the Boston Marathon since South Korean Suh Yun-Bok set a world record of 2:25:39 in Boston in 1947, according to the Boston Athletic Association.

In 2024 in Paris, Kipchoge is expected to race the Olympic marathon and bid to become the first person to win three gold medals in that event.

The Boston Marathon field also includes arguably the second- and third-best men in the world right now — Kipchoge’s Kenyan training partners Evans Chebet and Benson Kipruto. Chebet won Boston and New York City this year. Kipruto won Boston last year and Chicago this year.

American Des Linden, who won Boston in 2018, headlines the women’s field.

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2024 Tour de France to end with Nice time trial due to Paris Olympics

2024 Tour de France Nice
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The 2024 Tour de France will end on the French Riviera instead of the French capital because of the Paris Olympics.

The finish of cycling’s marquee race leaves Paris for the first time since 1905.

Tour organizers said on Thursday the last stage of its 111th race will take place in the Mediterranean resort of Nice on July 21. Five days later, Paris opens the Olympics.

Because of security and logistical reasons, the French capital won’t have its traditional Tour finish on the Champs-Elysees. Parting with tradition of a sprint on the Champs-Elysees, the last stage will be an individual time trial along Nice’s famed Promenade des Anglais.

The start of the 2024 race, which will begin for the first time in Italy, was brought forward by one week, a customary change during an Olympic year. The Tour will start on June 29 in Florence.

Nice has hosted the Tour 37 times, including its start twice, in 1981 and in 2020. Two years ago, the start was delayed until Aug. 29 due to lockdowns and travels bans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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