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Figure skating protest: South Korea Olympic Committee claims biased judging cost Yuna Kim

Medal Ceremony - Winter Olympics Day 14

SOCHI, Russia (AP) - The South Korean Olympic Committee has protested the results of the women's figure skating competition, although the sport's international governing body said Saturday it has not yet received the letter.

International Skating Union rules always have required such protests be filed immediately after the event.

The Koreans believe the judging was biased and cost Yuna Kim a second gold medal. The 2010 champion finished with silver, behind Russian teenager Adelina Sotnikova.

2014 Winter Olympics: Figure Skating Wrap-up

Much of the uproar over the women's free skate centers on what many perceived as a lack of artistry in Sotnikova's program. Yet her marks were comparable or better than those for the highly artistic Kim. Her technical marks were significantly better.

Bronze medalist Carolina Kostner of Italy also fell into the same category as Kim in her marks.

Asked to comment on South Korean media reports of the protest, International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams on Saturday said any figure skating issues would be a matter for the ISU to handle.

"They have their processes and regulations," Adams said. "From what I understand the letter wouldn't trigger any investigation."

On Friday, the ISU released a statement saying it "is confident in the high quality and integrity of the ISU judging system."The ISU said it had not received the letter, and declined to comment further.

"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 statement said. "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."

Scott Hamilton, the 1984 Olympic champion and a longtime television analyst who worked the games in Sochi for NBC, sees an intrinsic flaw in that setup. He believes the judges should be insulated from the day-to-day management of the sport, not a part of the federations that run it.

"The problem was never the scoring system," Hamilton said of the 6.0 format that was changed to the points system soon after the 2002 Games pairs scandal. "It was how the judges are selected for these competitions. What happened in Salt Lake City resulted in this scoring system not treating the issue. Every sport out there has an affiliated association of officials. They are separate from the federation, and figure skating is hesitant to do that. It is a fundamental issue that leads to people having a hard time taking the results as the results."

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cnvsbksltd February 22 2014 at 3:40 PM

I am still trying to understand how someone who falls twice in his free skate can win gold !! That tells me that the point system does not always work either !!

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3 replies
j1935waspm February 22 2014 at 5:50 PM

So the Koreans think the judges were biased against them? I guess they have forgotten that in the summer Olympics a few years back the Korean judges ruled that their boxer won despite the fact that it was clear that he did not. Short memories those Koreans.

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1 reply
LandonF j1935waspm February 22 2014 at 6:04 PM

Well it was a bad decision no doubt. Russia definitely cheated. But what you brought up is a good point too.

I honestly dont think Russia was biased against Korea. They did it because they were made the U.S. was beating them in medal count. Come on its Russia. Are we surprised they cheated?

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jfoxgeojoc February 22 2014 at 4:44 PM

Sotnikova skated a very nice 'almost' perfect routine. On the other hand, Kim was flawless. It did not even seem possible that her perfect program could finish in the second position, and it was somewhat of a surprise.
Have to give the announcers credit for not pointing out the discrepancy when the gold medal was awarded as well. They did not involve themselves in a controversy.
This is however certainly a low point for the perception of unbiased judging. Also a sad commentary on the 'PUTIN' Olympics.

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mjr15 February 22 2014 at 5:38 PM

too subjective of an event...great skill involved but it isn't really a sport of the judges make the final decision based on politics, payoffs etc...

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1 reply
LandonF mjr15 February 22 2014 at 6:05 PM

AGREED!

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HI SUSAN February 22 2014 at 5:03 PM

The Russian skater was much better on her turns and the technical portion. However, the South Korean, Kim, was excellent in the artictic portion, while the Russian skater was mechanical in her movements and in the last portion of her skating routine. What should be determined is how can these two portions (technical and artistic) be resolved; they were very different within the event beween the Russian and the South Korean skaters.

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jrc22552 February 22 2014 at 5:58 PM

Perhaps an event that is so dependent on the opinions of competitors' creativity, which is so subjective, shouldn't be viewed as an athletic competition. Otherwise, why not have an event for ballet?

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airlaws February 22 2014 at 5:46 PM

So are they saying a Russian judge ruled sufficiently to sway the entire vote? ...was that vote outlandishly lopsided? Did it alone change the outcome? The Korean lady skated a conservative - not as difficult program . It was beutiful but boring. She may have skated an easier program more perfectly...But the system awards technical difficulty multiplied by -Performance. Apparently the teenager let it all hang out,while the champ rested on laurels past.

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1 reply
LandonF airlaws February 22 2014 at 6:05 PM

The Russian AND the corrupt Ukrainian judge that was convicted of score fixing in '97 together swayed the score, yes.

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Joe February 22 2014 at 8:07 PM

Kim did not wow me with her efforts. She skated like it was an exhibition rather than a competition. In other word, I am here, so give me my medal now. The Russians jumps were higher, longer, and more difficult than MA-MA (Empiress) Kim. I felt the Russians Routine had more energy and she deserved to win.

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dbroidy11 February 22 2014 at 7:13 PM

So much for the peace on earth aspect of the Olympics. Nowadays medals mean $$ for the athletes and the the gold garners even more in endorsements. So is it any wonder that the participants quibble about who wins the gold because for them it means more gold in their pocket. And the bragging rights are not bad either.

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Holstein2u February 22 2014 at 4:37 PM

Remembering Midori Ito. Was also robbed.

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