Iced! Olympic Skating's Biggest Controversies
ASHLEY & MIRAI
Though Mirai Nagasu placed third in the U.S. figure skating championships in January, it was fourth-place finisher Ashley Wagner who earned a ticket to the 2014 Sochi games, despite taking two tumbles during her routine. It's thought that Wagner's impressive résumé got her that third spot on the U.S. Olympic team, though that didn't stop angry commenters from flooding Twitter and driving Wagner from the social media site. For her part, Nagasu said, "Though I may not agree with it, I have to respect the decision the federation made."
TONYA & NANCY
It's hard to believe it's been 20 years since Nancy Kerrigan was hit in the leg by a baton-wielding attacker on the eve of the U.S. figure skating championships in Detroit. Though she sat out that competition, she was still named to the 1994 U.S. Olympic team and went on to win silver in Lillehammer. Tonya Harding, whose ex-husband was behind the assault, went from being known as the first American woman to land a triple-axel to one who didn't medal at the Olympics, and was later barred from competitive skating because of her knowledge of the Kerrigan attack.
EVAN & EVGENI
The 2010 Olympics was all about the quadruple jump in men's figure skating. Top contender, Evan Lysacek of the U.S., citing issues with his left foot, skated a near-flawless program without the quad. His rival, Russian competitor Evgeni Plushenko, landed flawless quads in both his short and long programs, but it was Lysacek who took home the gold. During the medal ceremony, an angry Plushenko (who had backing from Russian teammates and judges) stepped on the top-level podium on his way to his silver medal-spot, causing many to call him out for unsportsmanlike conduct.
RUSSIA vs. CANADA
Figure skating judging was under the microscope at the 2002 Olympics when the Russian pairs team of Anton Sikharulidze and Yelena Berezhnaya beat Canadians Jamie Salé and David Pelletier, despite making a technical mistake and according to many, not skating a program as beautiful in presentation as the Canadians. Rumors of a cheating scandal began, and the French judge reportedly admitted to succumbing to pressure to vote for the Russian team (she later denied that statement). Amid the uproar, the Canadian pair was awarded co-gold medals).
OKSANA & MAXIM
Russian ice dancers Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin went into the 2010 Olympics as gold medal favorites, but came under fire in the original dance competition. They chose to do an aboriginal routine inspired by Australia's native people for the country/folk dance-themed competition. Their costumes, featuring leaves, body paint over dark-toned bodysuits and loincloths, angered Australian aboriginal leaders. Neither the routine or costumes impressed the judges, and the pair went home with bronze.