The Sochi Closing Ceremony has officially aired and we’ve seen the last of the Winter Olympics until 2018, but the controversy surrounding the ladies figure skating event is far from over.
As you may recall, the individual free skate was won by Russian seventeen-year old Adelina Slotnikova, beating out beautifully-skated, essentially flawless performances by Kim Yuna of South Korea and Carolina Kostner of Italy. Even though Adelina badly wobbled coming out of a jump, she was barely penalized and went on to win the gold, sparking an international outcry and garnering over two million signatures on a petition demanding a re-judgement.
But even with all the evidence we already had suggesting that the competition was rigged, now there’s even more. Take a look at some of the reasons we’re starting to buy into this conspiracy:
- There are photos of Adelina hugging Alla Shekhovtseva after her performance. Alla is A. one of the judges for Adelina’s own routine and B. the wife of the President of the Russian Skating Federation.
- In the photos of that hug, you can see another rumored Russian judge lingering in the background, waiting to congratulate Adelina.
- Adelina isn’t the only Russian skater whose scores were inflated. If fifteen-year old Yulia Lipnitskaya hadn’t fallen, her technical scores would have been higher than those for silver and bronze medalists Carolina and Yuna.
- A +3 Grade Of Execution (GOE) means that the element being graded (like a spin or jump) has been ‘done to perfection’. Even with the wobble displayed in the GIF above, Adelina received 33 +3 GOEs. And although she didn’t make the podium, fellow Russian Yulia was given 27.
- In contrast, Yuna had only 13, Carolina had 12, and Mao Asada of Japan and Gracie Gold of the United States had 6 each. So, as The Atlantic Wire points out, 61% of the +3 GOEs given out to the top six women were split between the skaters in first and sixth place, both of whom are Russian, while the remaining 38% was split between the other four skaters, none of whom were Russian. (And no, I don’t know where the final 1% goes in that equation.)
- A month ago at the European Championships, Yulia pulled in only 20 +3s on a similar routine, while Adelina had only 13.
- When you look at the Olympic scorecards, two judges scored the Russian skaters much higher than any of the others, giving out +3s on elements that other judges scored at 0.
- Anonymity prevents us from knowing whom it was, but one judge also rated Yuna Kim’s artistic elements very low, sometimes four points lower than the other judges.
- Up to four judges were allegedly in on it — Russia, Estonia, Ukraine, and Slovakia. With that many judges working together, they can get around the skating practice of throwing out the lowest and highest scores from each judge.
- The man in charge of making sure no one cheated is the vice president of the Russian Skating Federation. Which is unfortunate because…
- …Adelina may have cheated by A. ‘flutzing’, which is when you do a triple flip instead of a triple lutz, taking off from the easier inside edge instead of the more difficult outside edge, or B. under-rotating on the end of her triple toe loop, which is when you don’t complete the turn in the air and your skate is still rotating when you reach the ice.
- It’s hard to tell with the untrained eye (i.e. mine), but if she did under-rotate, then her jump was definitely scored too highly, a mistake that should have been caught by Alexander Lakernik, that Russian Skating Federation VP that I mentioned earlier. Doesn’t seem likely he’d be eager to catch that, although he had no problem doing so for Mao Asada earlier in the night.
So there you have it, guys. What do you think?
(Photo: Quinn Rooney / Getty Images Sport)