Did Russian skater Adelina Sotnikova really deserve to win gold in the women’s free skate over South Korea’s Yuna Kim?
Despite disbelief from some observers, the judges watching Thursday in Sochi said yes. And while a hint of a scandal is brewing, the International Olympic Committee said Friday that at this point, there is no need to doubt those judges.
“I think you’re getting a little ahead of yourself,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said when asked whether the judges’ scores should be questioned, according to USA Today. “I think we need a little of a reality check here. [Sotnikova’s] performance was agreed by many to be absolutely fantastic. I’m not an expert.”
He added: “The IOC has a pretty sophisticated judging system with safeguards in place, and each of the judges has a video review where they can review each of the jumps, so there’s a number of things in place.”
Adams said that as far as he knew, no official complaint had been filed by anyone.
Still, some observers were perplexed by the results, believing that Kim, the defending gold medalist, had outskated Sotnikova. AFP reported that German skater Katarina Witt, the gold medalist in 1984 and 1988, told German TV: “I don’t understand it. I am little bit stunned.”
Eyebrows were raised at certain judges in particular. One of the nine judges was Ukrainian Yuri Balkov, who was suspended for a year after being involved in a fixing scandal at the 1998 Nagano Olympics.
Another, Alla Shekhovtseva, is married to Russian federation general director Valentin Piseyev.
But Adams deflected any speculation about fixing. “At this stage, I think we’re discussing purely hypothetical things, and my personal point of view would be to congratulate a fantastic performance,” he said.