Think Olympic figure skating judges are biased? The data says they might be.

At the 2014 Sochi Olympics, few thought Russian figure skater Adelina Sotnikova would win gold.

The reigning champion, Yuna Kim of South Korea, was the runaway favorite to repeat her triumph of four years earlier, and was leading after the short program.

But Sotnikova won after receiving the highest scores of her career — and skating off the ice and into the arms of a Russian judge. Her hug with the Russian, who was married to a leader of Russia's skating federation and was one of two Russians on the panel that gave her gold, fueled a worldwide outcry and demands for an investigation.

"Our jaws dropped," recalled U.S. skater Simon Shnapir, who was watching at the rink in Sochi with other competitors, "but at the same time, none of us are strangers to how skating works. … You either deal with that or you don't."

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Tonya Harding through the years
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Tonya Harding through the years
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - CIRCA 1991: Figure Skater Tonya Harding of the United States competes in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships circa 1991 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
OAKLAND - 1991: Tonya Harding of the USA performs in the fall Skate America figure skating competition held in 1991 at the Oakland-Alameda County Arena in Oakland, California. (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)
American figure skater Tonya Harding performs at the 1991 World Championships. (Photo by Gilbert Iundt; Jean-Yves Ruszniewski/TempSport/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1992: Figure Skater Tonya Harding of the United States competes in a figure skating competition circa 1992. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding posing in front of brown backdrop (no caps). (Photo by Rex Rystedt/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
PORTLAND, : U.S. figure skating champion Tonya Harding (R) listens to her coach Diane Rawlinson during a practice session early 18 January 1994 in Portland, Oregon. Federal and local investigators are trying to determine if Tonya Harding's money, some of it from Olympic sources, paid for the attack on figure skating rival Nancy Kerrigan. (Photo credit should read POOL/AFP/Getty Images)
PORTLAND, OR - JANUARY 24: Young fans of U.S. figure skater Tonya Harding look on while she takes a break from training at the Clackamas Town Center mall rink, 24 January 1994, as a grand jury continues its meetings on whether to indict her in the attack on fellow skater Nancy Kerrigan. A news report in the Portland Oregonian newspaper said prosecutors have enough evidence to charge Harding. (Photo credit should read EUGENE GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images)
PORTLAND, OR - JANUARY 27: U.S. figure skater Tonya Harding reads from a prepared text 27 January 1994 during a press conference at the Multnomah County Athletic Club, Oregon. Harding admitted that she failed to tell authorities what she knew about the attack on fellow skater Nancy Kerrigan. Harding also denied planning to injure Kerrigan and asked to remain on the U.S. Olympic team. (Photo credit should read CRAIG STRONG/AFP/Getty Images)
Tonya Harding (L) and Nancy Kerrigan, both from USA, during a training session of the 1994 Winter Olympics. It's just one month after Harding became notorious for allegedly conspiring to harm competitor Nancy Kerrigan in an attack. (Photo by Dimitri Iundt/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 9: Tonya Harding sits for an interview in Portland. OR. for the program 'Eye to Eye with Connie Chung.' Image dated February 9, 1994. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
HAMAR - FEBRUARY 17: U.S.A. figure skaters Nancy Kerrigan, background, and Tonya Harding, foreground, face each other on the ice during a practice session at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Hamar, Norway on Feb. 17, 1994. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
LILLEHAMMER, NORWAY - FEBRUARY 23: Tonya Harding of the USA competes in the Technical Program portion of the Women's Figure Skating competition of the 1994 Winter Olympics on February 23, 1994 at the Hamar Olympic Hall in Lillehammer, Norway. (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)
LILLEHAMMER, NORWAY - FEBRUARY 25: Tonya Harding of the USA competes in the Free Skate portion of the Women's Figure Skating competition of the 1994 Winter Olympics on February 25, 1994 at the Hamar Olympic Hall in Lillehammer, Norway. (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)
FILES, NORWAY - DECEMBER 15: US figure skaters Tonya Harding (L) and Nancy Kerrigan avoid each other during a training session 17 February in Hamar, Norway, during the Winter Olympics. Kerrigan was hit on the knee in January 1994 during the US Olympic Trials and it was later learned that Harding's ex-husband and bodyguard masterminded the attack in hopes of improving Harding's chances at the US Trials and the Olympics. (COLOR KEY: Harding has yellow) (Photo credit should read VINCENT AMALVY/AFP/Getty Images)
Tonya Harding and Paula Jones square off at the official weigh-in for 'Celebrity Boxing.' The televison show will air March 13 on Fox TV. (Photo by Ted Soqui/Corbis via Getty Images)
CAMUS, WA - AUGUST 8: Former Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding speaks to reporters about her sentencing, as she exits the Camus/Washougal Municipal Court on August 8, 2002 in Camus, Washington. Harding was sentenced to 30 days detention, with 20 days suspended, for violating her probation from an assault case after admitting she was driving drunk when arrested in April of 2002. (Photo by Greg Wahl-Stephens/Getty Images)
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - JUNE 13: Tonya Harding attends the opening weekend of Smokin' Joe Frazier's Sportzbox at Bally's Atlantic City on June 13, 2009 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. (Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 05: Tonya Harding attends Premiere Of Neon's 'I, Tonya' at the Egyptian Theatre on December 5, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 05: Tonya Harding and Margot Robbie attend NEON and 30WEST Present the Los Angeles Premiere of 'I, Tonya' Supported By Svedka on December 5, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for NEON)
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In the end, the International Skating Union, the sport's governing body, rejected complaints from South Korea's skating organization and Sotnikova kept her gold. And as the 2018 Olympics get underway in South Korea this week, some of those closest to the sport say they're worried about a fresh scandal, because they believe the system is biased and not enough has been done to fix it.

"Imagine an audience watching football, and a team getting a touchdown, but not getting points for that," said Chloe Katz, a former competitive skater who medaled in U.S. and international competitions. "I think that's the equivalent of what's happening right now in figure skating."

One of the most popular sports at the winter games, figure skating has long been plagued with controversy. The underlying cause is its unique judging system, say critics. Skating presents avenues for biased scoring that don't exist in other Olympic sports.

61 PHOTOS
Kristi Yamaguchi through the years
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Kristi Yamaguchi through the years
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - JULY 1989: Figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi poses for a portrait during the 1989 United States Olympic Festival held during July 1989 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)
(GERMANY OUT) Die Eiskunstl�ferin Kristi Yamaguchi, USA, auf dem Eis. Undatiertes Foto. (Photo by HJS-Pressefoto/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - CIRCA 1989: Figure Skater Kristi Yamaguchi of the United States competes in the 1989 U.S. Figure Skating Championships circa 1989 at the Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - JULY 1989: Figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi poses for a portrait during the 1989 United States Olympic Festival held during July 1989 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - CIRCA 1989: Figure Skater Kristi Yamaguchi of the United States competes in the 1989 U.S. Figure Skating Championships circa 1989 at the Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - CIRCA 1989: Figure Skater Kristi Yamaguchi of the United States competes in the 1989 U.S. Figure Skating Championships circa 1989 at the Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Unspecified: Kristi Yamaguchi skating. (Photo by ABC via Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - CIRCA 1989: Figure Skater Kristi Yamaguchi of the United States competes in the 1989 U.S. Figure Skating Championships circa 1989 at the Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 17: Kristi Yamaguchi (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 17: Kristi Yamaguchi (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1990: Figure Skater Kristi Yamaguchi of the United States competes in a figure skating competition circa 1990. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
SEATTLE - JULY 1990: Kristi Yamaguchi of the USA celebrates her gold medal during the awards ceremony for the Women's Individual figure skating event of the 1990 Goodwill Games held July 20 - August 5, 1990 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)
OAKLAND - 1991: Kristi Yamaguchi of the USA skates in the Skate America competition held in 1991 at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California. Yamaguchi won the silver medal in the Women's Individual figure skating event. (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1992: Figure Skater Kristi Yamaguchi of the United States competes in a figure skating competition circa 1992. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - CIRCA 1991: Figure Skater Kristi Yamaguchi of the United States competes in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships circa 1991 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
ALBERTVILLE, FRANCE: Japanese figure skater Midori Ito performs during the women's original program at the Winter Olympic Games 19 February 1992 in Albertville. Kristi Yamaguchi from the United States won the gold medal in front of Ito (silver) and Nancy Kerrigan (bronze) from the United States. AFP PHOTO/ERIC FEFERBERG (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
ALBERTVILLE, FRANCE: Figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi from the United States smiles as she performs during the women's free program at the Winter Olympic Games 21 February 1992 in Albertville. Yamaguchi won the gold medal in front of Japanese Midori Ito (silver) and Nancy Kerrigan from the United States. AFP PHOTO/ERIC FEFERBERG (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
ALBERTVILLE, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 21: Kristi Yamaguchi of the United States shows her gold medal following the Women's Singles event of the Figure Skating competition of the 1992 Winter Olympic Games held in Albertville, France on February 21, 1992. (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)
ALBERTVILLE, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 21: Kristi Yamaguchi of the United States competes in the Women's Singles event of the Figure Skating competition of the 1992 Winter Olympic Games held in Albertville, France on February 21, 1992. (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)
ALBERTVILLE, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 21: Kristi Yamaguchi (C) from the United States, her compatriot Nancy Kerrigan (L) and Japanese Midori Ito smile as they pose on the podium after the medals' ceremony of the women's figure skating event at the Winter Olympic Games 21 February 1992 in Albertville. Yamaguchi won the gold medal in front of Ito (silver) and Nancy Kerrigan (bronze). (Photo credit should read VINCENT AMALVY/AFP/Getty Images)
ALBERTVILLE, FRANCE: Figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi from the United States performs her free program at the Winter Olympic Games 21 February 1992 in Albertville. Yamaguchi won the gold medal in front of Japanese Midori Ito (silver) and compatriot Nancy Kerrigan (bronze). AFP PHOTO/ERIC FEFERBERG (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. ice skater Kristi Yamaguchi performs during the opening ceremony of the Salt Lake 2002 Winter Olympic Games February 8, 2002. Athletes from 77 countries will participate in the XIX winter games in Utah February 8-24. REUTERS/Kimimasa Mayama KM/CRB
TORONTO, ON - CIRCA 1993: Figure Skater Kristi Yamaguchi of the United States competes in the 1993 Durasoft Colors Challenge of Champions in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1993: Figure Skater Kristi Yamaguchi of the United States competes in a figure skating competition circa 1993. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1996: Figure Skater Kristi Yamaguchi of the United States competes in a figure skating competition circa 1996. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 22: Kristi Yamaguchi (left), Paul Wylie and Katrina Witt in basketball shootout at the All Star Cafe. (Photo by Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, UNITED STATES: Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi performs on the skating rink in Rockefeller Center in New York City at the 66th annual tree lighting ceremony 02 December. US First Lady Hillary Clinton lit the tree in a ceremony which also saw performances by Garth Brooks and Jewel. AFP PHOTO Matt CAMPBELL (Photo credit should read MATT CAMPBELL/AFP/Getty Images)
Olympic Figure Skating Gold Medallists Tara Lipinski (L) And Kristi Yamaguchi Have A Laugh During A Question And Answer Period With Students At John Adams Middle School January 6, 2000, In Los Angeles. Lipinski And Yamaguchi, Who Perform With Stars On Ice, Are On Hand To Support The Skating Show's Take Charge Of Education Seminar During Their 63-City U.S. Tour. The Programs At The Schools Encourage Students To Stay In School, Continuing Education And Setting Goals In Life. (Photo By Chris Martinez/Getty Images)
Kristi Yamaguchi performing as part of the Target Stars on Ice at the San Jose Arena in San Jose Calif. on January 9th, 2000. Image By: Tim Mosenfelder/ImageDirect
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1997: Figure Skater Kristi Yamaguchi of the United States competes in a figure skating competition circa 1997. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 15: Kristi Yamaguchi attending party at the Penthouse. (Photo by Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Tom Arnold & Kristi Yamaguchi during Nickelodeon's 10th Annual Kids Choice Awards at Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
SAN FRANCISCO - NOVEMBER 22: Figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi signs autographs on her bobble-head dolls for fans on November 22, 2002 in San Francisco, California. Yamaguchi signed the dolls to help raise money for her 'Always Dream' foundation. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 05: Kristi Yamaguchi at the USFA presentation of 'A Skating Tribute: The Legacy of the 1961 U.S - World Figure Skating Team' at Madison Square Garden on October 05, 2001 to benefit the USFSA Memorial Fund, created in memory of those lost in the 1961 plane crash that claimed the lives of the entire team to the World Championships in Prague - (Photo by David LEFRANC/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Kristi Yamaguchi (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 17: Kristi Yamaguchi attends Us Weekly Magazine's Hot Hollywood 2008 Party at Beso on April 17, 2008 in Hollywood, CA. (Photo by ANDREAS BRANCH/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
SANTA MONICA, CA - OCTOBER 06: ***EXCLUSIVE*** (L-R) Figure Skaters Rosalynn Summers, Kristi Yamaguchi and Katia Gordeeva pose for photos during arrivals at the Frosted Pink Presented by sanofi-aventis and Wachovia Putting Women's Cancer on Ice at the Barker Hangar on October 6, 2007 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Frosted Pink)
SANTA MONICA, CA - OCTOBER 06: ***EXCLUSIVE*** (L-R) Figure Skaters Rosalynn Summers, Kristi Yamaguchi and Katia Gordeeva perform during the Frosted Pink Presented by sanofi-aventis and Wachovia Putting Women's Cancer on Ice at the Barker Hangar on October 6, 2007 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Frosted Pink)
SANTA MONICA, CA - OCTOBER 06: ***EXCLUSIVE*** Singer Anastacia poses with figure Skaters Rosalynn Summers, Kristi Yamaguchi and Katia Gordeeva during arrivals at the Frosted Pink Presented by sanofi-aventis and Wachovia Putting Women's Cancer on Ice at the Barker Hangar on October 6, 2007 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Frosted Pink)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 06: Figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi attends Nanette Lepore Fall 2008 during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at the Promenade, Bryant Park on February 6, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Brian Ach/WireImage)
WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 18: American figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi performs during 'Musselman's Applesauce The Music of Seal on Ice' at the Verizon Center December 18, 2007 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 26: DANCING WITH THE STARS - Rehearsals - An Olympic Gold medalist and World Champion, Kristi Yamaguchi is one of the most popular and successful figure skaters of our time. Since winning the 1992 Winter Olympics, Yamaguchi retired from competitive skating, performing in numerous television specials and traveling the globe on 'Stars on Ice' tour. Along with her many awards and accomplishments, she is a member of the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame, World Figure Skating Hall of Fame and the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. In 1996 she founded the Always Dream Foundation dedicated to fundraising and supporting children's charities. Yamaguchi is married to Stanley Cup champion and Carolina Hurricanes star Bret Hedican. Together they have two young daughters. She teams up with Mark Ballas, who returns for his second season. Mark was previously paired with Sabrina Bryan. 'Dancing with the Stars' returns MONDAY, MARCH 17 (8:00-9:30 p.m., ET) on ABC. (Photo by Adam Larkey/ABC via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 19: DANCING WITH THE STARS - 'Episode 610' - After ten weeks of entertaining drama, camaraderie and dazzling performances, Kristi Yamaguchi, Jason Taylor and Cristian de la Fuente have broken away from the pack and earned the right for a chance to be crowned champion of 'Dancing with the Stars.' The three finalists had their last opportunity to impress the judges and viewers in the two-part season finale, beginning MONDAY, MAY 19 (8:00-9:05 p.m., ET), and concluding TUESDAY, MAY 20 (9:00-11:00 p.m., ET). For the first time, the teams faced off dancing the Cha Cha Cha to an extended version of the same song. Each team danced to a section of the song before stepping aside for the next team to showcase their routine - giving judges and viewers a chance to compare the couples alongside each other. In addition, Kristi, Jason and Cristian showed us what they've got in the ever popular Freestyle routine - a fan favorite. (Photo by Kelsey McNeal/ABC via Getty Images)
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - SEPTEMBER 16: Kristi Yamaguchi attends the Life 101 series at Rose and Alfred Miniaci Performing Arts Center at Nova University on September 16, 2008 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 20: DANCING WITH THE STARS - Episode 610A - After ten weeks of entertaining drama, camaraderie and dazzling performances, Kristi Yamaguchi and her professional partner Mark Ballas, were crowned champion of 'Dancing with the Stars,' in the two-part season finale, beginning MONDAY, MAY 19 (8:00-9:02 p.m., ET), and concluding TUESDAY, MAY 20 (9:00-11:00 p.m., ET). (Photo by Michael Desmond/ABC via Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - FEBRUARY 13: Kristi Yamaguchi attends Heart Truth Red Dress Fashion Show at The Tents on February 13, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by JOE SCHILDHORN/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 16: Olympic skater Kristi Yamaguchi at the 'Kaleidoscope' rehearsal presented by sanofi-aventis US airing nationally on Thanksgiving Day on FOX at Verizon Center on November 16, 2009 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Edge Health)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MAY 06: Figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi attends 'Dancing Under the Stars' on May 6, 2009 in in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD - NOVEMBER 29: Figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi attends the Dizzy Feet Foundation's Inaugural Celebration of Dance at The Kodak Theater on November 29, 2009 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Dizzy Feet Foundation)
HOLLYWOOD - NOVEMBER 29: Kristi Yamaguchi attends Dizzy Feet Foundation's 'Celebration of Dance' at the Kodak Theatre on November 29, 2009 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD - NOVEMBER 01: Kristi Yamaguchi attends 'Dancing With The Stars' 200th Episode at Boulevard 3 on November 1, 2010 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
Kristi Yamaguchi signs copies of her children's book 'Dream Big, Little Pig!' at Barnes & Noble bookstore at The Grove on March 21, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Duffy-Marie Arnoult/WireImage)
TODAY -- Pictured: Kristi Yamaguchi appears on NBC News' TODAY show (Photo by Heidi Gutman/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 15: Former figure skating champions Scott Hamilton and Kristi Yamaguchi of USA attend the Men's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group A game between Russia and USA on day eight of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 15, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by John Berry/Getty Images)
DANCING WITH THE STARS: ALL-STARS - 'Episode 1501' - From former champions to fan favorites, including a celebrity voted in by fans, the All-Star cast along with their professional partners returned to the ballroom on the season premiere of 'Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars,' MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. All 13 couples hit the stage performing either the Cha Cha or the Foxtrot to impress the judges and viewers at home. (Photo by Adam Taylor/ABC via Getty Images) KRISTI YAMAGUCHI
Kristi Yamaguchi, former Olympic skater and author of 'Ts's a Big World Little Pig' at the Book Expo America show at the Javitz Center in New York. (Photo by James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images)
SACRAMENTO, CA - OCTOBER 28: Kristi Yamaguchi arrives at The California Museum on October 28, 2015 in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Trisha Leeper/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 25: Kristi Yamaguchi attends AOL Build at Build Studio on January 25, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Jenny Anderson/Getty Images)
DANCING WITH THE STARS - 'Episode 2508' - The six remaining couples are prepping for a special night of dancing, in which they will perform two numbers - a regular couples dance and a special trio dance, in which one past season winner or finalist will be paired with each couple to compete, on 'Dancing with the Stars,' live, MONDAY, NOV. 6 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EST), on The ABC Television Network. (Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images) KRISTI YAMAGUCHI
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 18: Kristi Yamaguchi poses for a photograph during the Sierra Club's 125th Anniversary Trail Blazer's Ball at Innovation Hangar on May 18, 2017 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Kelly Sullivan/Getty Images for Sierra Club)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 13: World Champion Figure Skater Kristi Yamaguchi Skates At Rockefeller Center at The Rink at Rockefeller Center on January 13, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)
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Perhaps most important, the national skating federations, not the international body, pick which judges will be sent to a competition — and judges are allowed to score athletes from their own country.

"This, in my opinion, is a clear conflict of interest," said Sonia Bianchetti of Italy, a skating judge at seven Olympics, "but the rules do not forbid it."

In addition, judges who have been sanctioned for cheating can regain their eligibility to judge. Those who serve in leadership positions at their national skating associations are also still eligible to judge.

NBC News found that the pool of 164 judges eligible for PyeongChang's figure-skating events, which start Friday, Feb. 9 (Feb. 8 in U.S. time zones), includes:

  • Thirty-three judges — roughly a fifth of the total — who hold or have held leadership positions in their national skating federations;
  • An Italian judge who was sanctioned for peeking at another judge's scores in 2010;
  • A Russian judge who has been sanctioned for violations twice, once for signaling his preferred order of finish to another judge by tapping with his feet, the other time for talking to another judge in Russian;
  • The Russian judge who Sotnikova hugged at Sochi;
  • A Korean judge who told a Korean newspaper prior to Sochi that she would make sure skaters from her country, like Yuna Kim, were "not disadvantaged."

All of them could end up judging skaters from their own countries, and there is statistical evidence that they could then inflate their compatriots' scores.

Bias: What the numbers show

Dartmouth economics professor Eric Zitzewitz has been reviewing scores from international skating competitions for 15 years and says he has consistently found measurable bias. The data in studies that Zitzewitz published in 2006 and 2014 showed that judges from all countries, including the U.S., were more likely to favor their own.

Under the current "Code of Points" scoring system, in which a top contender at an elite event like the Olympics can have a cumulative score as high as 225, Zitzewitz found that in 2016 and 2017 judges added an average of more than three points to the cumulative scores of their compatriots.

So are the judges from any particular country especially biased? "I was finding that the countries that people thought were more corrupt in other dimensions also seem to have more biased figure-skating judging," Zitzewitz said. "I'm going to sound a little partisan as an American, but if you sort of start from America and go east — the nationalistic bias seems to go up."

Ukraine, Russia and South Korea topped Zitzewitz's list of countries with the worst offenders in competitions in 2016 and 2017 — but Canada and the U.S. also made the top 10. Zitzewitz cautions that the rankings are based on a limited amount of data and should be treated as approximate.

Zitzewitz believes that the national federations are feeding bias, because they pick the judges. "They certainly create incentives for the judges to be a little bit more biased," he said.

Image: Nationalistic bias by judge country, 2016-17 season

Zitzewitz started studying figure skating after a scandal at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics rocked the sport. The Russian mafia was accused of fixing a gold medal victory for Russian pairs skaters, beating out a Canadian team despite the Canadians' superior performance. A French judge and the head of the French skating association were suspended for three years for their alleged roles in the scheme. The Canadians were eventually awarded a gold medal.

The International Skating Union changed the scoring system after the Salt Lake scandal, making it more complicated and supposedly harder to rig.

One of the rule changes forced judges to report their scores anonymously. The international governing body thought the change would prevent nationalistic voting because federations wouldn't be able to see how their judges voted and judges would thus feel less pressure to please.

 

According to Zitzewitz, however, data from 2003 to 2009 shows that there was no change to the level of nationalistic bias in scoring.

Chloe Katz, who skated in competitions before and after the rule changes, doesn't think they helped. "I think there are new forms of bias that are manifesting themselves in the system," she said.

When asked to comment on Zitzewitz's findings, the International Skating Union (ISU) said in a statement that it has an Officials Assessment Commission whose "role is to evaluate anomalies in the judges' scores and decisions taken by the technical panel."

A year and a half ago, the ISU made another set of rule changes, including a reversal of its 2002 decision on anonymity. Viewers of the PyeongChang Olympics will be able to learn which judges gave which marks.

"I think that's likely to make the judges more accountable," Zitzewitz said.

"It's going to allow [commentators] to talk about the scores that came from a particular judge for a particular routine," he said. "If some of the judges are outliers, it'll allow them to talk about that judge and why they gave those scores. And I think that'll change the calculus for a judge who's thinking about being biased or thinking about doing a deal with another country."

He still thinks, however, that "absolutely you will see judges from the same country give slightly higher marks to competitors for their country."

In its statement, the ISU told NBC News that it has a "robust" procedure for monitoring judges, including penalties for over-marking skaters. "The cancellation of anonymity makes it possible to trace not only the quality of judging," the union said, "but also any bias. Judges who make mistakes and/or are over marking skaters receive a warning and can be penalized by the ISU."

The union said it was a "priority to do its utmost to guarantee a fair result" during the PyeongChang Games.

The ISU responded to questions about national skating federation officials serving as judges and judges scoring skaters from their home countries by referring NBC to the rules in the ISU constitution.

Asked specifically about Sotnikova's scores in Sochi, the ISU referred NBC to its official dismissal of complaints about the judge whom Sotnikova embraced.

The judge herself told the ISU in 2014 that she wasn't the first or the only person Sotnikova hugged after winning: "She was very excited and she was hugging everybody around whom she knew."

A spokesperson for the governing body for U.S. figure skaters, U.S. Figure Skating, told NBC News that the organization's president, Sam Auxier, had recused himself from judging in PyeongChang.

"ISU rules allow federation leadership to judge events," said the spokesperson, Barbara Reichert. "However, to avoid any conflict of interest, Sam Auxier voluntarily removed himself from consideration to judge senior ISU Championship events, the 2018 Olympic Winter Games and the U.S. Championships during his four years as U.S. Figure Skating president."

Auxier, who has been president since 2014, has judged lower profile events — and U.S. skaters — during his presidency. He was a judge at the Sochi Olympics in 2014 while a vice president of the U.S. federation.

Looking beyond PyeongChang

What else can be done to improve the scoring of figure skating? Among the fixes suggested by observers:

  • Ban judges from scoring skaters from their own countries.
  • Ban officials from national skating federations from serving as judges.
  • Have the International Skating Union choose judges based on merit, instead of letting individual countries decide who to send to the Olympics.
  • Ban sanctioned judges from ever returning to the sport. Currently a judge who's been sanctioned for cheating can rejoin the pool of Olympic-eligible judges within a few years.
  • Professionalize judging. Most skating judges are unpaid volunteers.

The ISU did not respond to a request for comment on the proposed changes.

"We work our entire lives for this," Katz, the former American competitor, said. "You give up so much, and you would hope that the judges are fair."

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2018 Olympics: Team USA portraits
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2018 Olympics: Team USA portraits
Bobsled athlete Kehri Jones poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. She does not listen to while training but listens to pop and rap on race day. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Figure skater Ashley Wagner poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. Wagner listens to Beyonce while she trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Figure skater Mirai Nagasu poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. Nagasu listens to pop while she trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Figure skater Karen Chen poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. Chen listens to Taylor Swift's "Look What You Made Me Do" while she trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Figure skater Adam Rippon poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. Rippon listens to electronic dance music while he trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Alpine Skier Jackie Wells poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. She listens to hip hop and rap while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Figure skater Jason Brown poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. Brown listens to Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop the Feeling" while he trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Alpine Skier Mikaela Shiffrin poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. She listens to "Dark Necessities" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Figure skater Nathan Chen poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Snowboarder Kelly Clark poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. She listens to christian music while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Alpine skier Laurenne Ross poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. She listens to old school rap and indy rock while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Figure skater Mariah Bell poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. Bell listens to Beyonce while she trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Snowboarder Chole Kim poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Ice dancers Alex Shibutani and Maia Shibutani pose for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. The pair listens to Coldplay and Perez Prado while they train. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Skeleton racer Annie O'Shea poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. O'Shea listens to J. Lo and Skrillex while she trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Ice Hockey player Troy Terry poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. He listens to classic rock while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. Kenworthy listens to pop music while he trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Bobsled athlete Jamie Greubel Poser poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. She listens to pop and rap music while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Skeleton racer Katie Uhlaender poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. Uhlaender listens to hip hop while she trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Paralympic Nordic Skiing athlete Oksana Masters poses for a portrait with her medals from Sochi at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. She listens to Jay Z and hip hop music while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Luge racer Erin Hamlin poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. Hamlin listens to alternative music while she trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Skeleton racer John Daly poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. Daly listens to Wake Me while he trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Bobsled athlete Aja Evans poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. She listens to hip hop music while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Paralympic Nordic Skiing athlete Aaron Pike poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. He listens to Seven Nation Army by White Stripes while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Luge racer Chris Mazdzer poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. Mazdzer listens to 3LAU and Martin Garrix while he trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Snowboarder Ryan Stassel poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. He listens to heavy rock while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Snowboarder Alex Deibold poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. He listens to Motley Crew songs while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Nordic Combined skier Bryan Fletcher poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. Fletcher listens to Macklemore while he trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Nordic Combined skier Bryan Fletcher poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. Fletcher listens to Macklemore while he trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Cross-country skier Jessie Diggins poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. Diggins listens to pop and dance music while she trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Short track speedskater Katherine Reutter-Adamek poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. Adamek listens to the Chainsmokers and electronic dance music while she trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Paralympic snowboarder Amy Purdy poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. She listens to electronic swing music while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Paralympic snowboarder Amy Purdy poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. She listens to electronic swing music while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Long track speedskater Brittany Bowe poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. Bowe listens to electronic dance music while she trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Paralympic sled hockey player Josh Pauls poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. He listens to rap music while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Long track speedskater KC Boutiette poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. Boutiette listens to Eminem while he trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Paralympic sled hockey goalie Steve Cash poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. He listens to musician Kevin Gates while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Paralympic snowboarder Mike Schultz poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. He listens to classic rock music while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Skeleton racer Matt Antoine poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. Antoine listens to '90s alternative music while he trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Biathlon athlete Lowell Bailey poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. He listens to Steely Dan and old rock while training . REUTERS/Mike Blake?
Luge racers Matt Mortensen and Jayson Terdiman pose for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. Mortensen listens to metal and punk, Five Finger Death Punch and Rise Against, while he trains and Terdiman listens to hip hop, People Under the Stairs and Kendrick Lamar. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Bobsled athlete Elana Meyers Taylor poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. She listens to hip hop and pop music while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Biathlon athlete Susan Dunklee poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. She prefers not to listen to any music while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Luge racer Tucker West poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. West listens to pop music while he trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Ice hockey player Jordan Greenway poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. He listens to hip hop music while training . REUTERS/Mike Blake
Skeleton racer Annie O'Shea poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. O'Shea listens to J. Lo and Skrillex while she trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Luge racer Erin Hamlin poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. Hamlin listens to alternative music while she trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Freestyle skier Ashley Caldwell poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. Caldwell listens to alternative rock while she trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Freestyle skier Morgan Schild poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. Schild listens to rap while she trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Snowboarder Hagen Kearney poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. He listens to Motorhead and Black Sabbath while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Freestyle skier Kiley McKinnon poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. McKinnon listens to hip hop and rock music while she trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Snowboarder Jamie Anderson poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. She listens to 90's hip hop while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Snowboarder Red Gerard poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Snowboarder Chase Josey poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. Josey listens to hip hop and punk while he trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Snowboarder Ryan Stassel poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. He listens to heavy rock while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Snowboarder Nate Holland poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. He listens to rock music while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Freestyle skier Mac Bohonnon poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. Bohonnon listens to rap music while he trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Long track speedskater KC Boutiette poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. Boutiette listens to Eminem while he trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Long track speedskater Joey Mantia poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. Mantia listens to "Work It Out" by Netsky while he trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Paralympic Snowboarder Evan Strong wears his gold medal from 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi as he poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. He listens to Reggae music while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Paralympic snowboarder Brenna Huckaby poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. She listens to pop and rap music while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Paralympic wheelchair curler Kirk Black poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. He listens to contemporary christian music while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Paralympic hockey player Declan Farmer poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. He listens to hip hop music while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Long track speedskater Joey Mantia poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. Mantia listens to "Work It Out" by Netsky while he trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Cross-country skier Kikkan Randall poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. Randall listens to Katy Perry and Lady Gaga while she trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Alpine skier Travis Ganong poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. Ganong listens to reggae and rock music while he trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Freestyle skier Maggie Voison poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 26, 2017. She listens to pop and rap music while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Figure skating pair Chris Knierim (L) and Alexa Scimeca Knierim pose for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 26, 2017. Chris listens to Metallica and Alexa listens to pop while they train. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Figure skating ice dancers Zach Donohue (L) and Madison Hubbell pose for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 26, 2017. Donohue listens to rock and electronic dance music while he trains and Hubbell listens to Paul Simon and The Who. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Alpine skier Steve Nyman poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 26, 2017. Nyman listens to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers while he trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Ice hockey player Alex Rigsby poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 26, 2017. She listens to electronic dance music while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Ice hockey player Meghan Duggan poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City Utah, U.S. September 26, 2017. She listens to Beyonce and Rihanna while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Ice hockey player Hilary Knight poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City Utah, U.S. September 26, 2017. She listens to pop and rap music while training . REUTERS/Mike Blake
Ice hockey player Brianna Decker poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City Utah, U.S. September 26, 2017. She listens to hip hop and country music while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Ski jumper Sarah Hendrickson poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 26, 2017. Hendrickson listens to podcasts while she trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
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Ukrainian, South Korean and Russian skating federations did not respond to requests for comment, nor did the sanctioned Italian and Russian judges; the South Korean judge who said she would make sure her country's skaters were not disadvantaged; or the Russian judge hugged by Sotnikova.

Canada's national skating federation, Skate Canada, said it "fully respects and supports the ISU regulations regarding the training, appointment, and eligibility of officials in all disciplines. … All officials who make it to this level are highly trained and scrutinized. Any questions related to eligibility to officiate at the Olympic Games should be directed to the ISU."

The Japan Skating Federation said that its director, Yoshiko Kobayashi, is participating only in minimal judging "to maintain her required ISU judge position, which is once every three years." She is not judging championships "to avoid the conflict of interest and to secure fairness to the skaters and to the sport." 

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