• Mon, Feb 24 - 2:47 pm ET

More Pieces Of Evidence Suggesting Olympic Figure Skating Was Rigged By Russia

Russian Adelina Sotnikova holding the gold medal for figure skating at the Sochi 2014 OlympicsThe 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:

  1. 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.
  2. In the photos of that hug, you can see another rumored Russian judge lingering in the background, waiting to congratulate Adelina.
  3. 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.
    Adelina Sotnikova sloppy landing in long program figure skating Sochi Olympics 2014
  4. 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.
  5. 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.)
  6. A month ago at the European Championships, Yulia pulled in only 20 +3s on a similar routine, while Adelina had only 13.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. The man in charge of making sure no one cheated is the vice president of the Russian Skating Federation. Which is unfortunate because…

    Adelina Sotnikova triple toe loop landing Sochi Olympics 2014(via)

  11. …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.
  12. 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)

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  • tewkewl

    awesome article. thanks for pointing this stuff out. it looks like the idiots in the MAIN STREAM MEDIA once again IGNORE the finer points elucidated in this article for putin arse kissing pc dribble.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      Thanks for reading!

  • Mawm

    The Olympics are immoral, essentially a big party for rich people paid for by the middle class. Hundreds of families were evicted from their homes and are now living in storage units in Sochi. 51 billion dollars didn’t go to social services in that country, but instead into the pockets of contractors, cronies, and political friends. Security goons were waiting at every turn to intimidate, harass, and arrest anyone who said anything the Russian govt didn’t want to hear.
    I respect your analysis. Giving the entire monstrosity of these Olympics, I would have been surprised if they hadn’t cheated.

  • Bob Eckert

    Were you in any doubt that they would be fixed? And that other categories would be fixed? Remember we are talking about Soviet KGB Commander Putin here and these are HIS Olympics, not the world’s. Don’t be do naive when you are talking about a crazytown, despot like Putin.

  • Flavio Panchetta

    Criticizing the judges is fine, but accusing Slotnikova of cheating is ridiculous. Messing up an element does not make her a cheater. Such an accusation badly undermines your own credibility.

    • Liza

      Agreed

  • Leuk

    I do see inflated scores for the Russian ladies but from a different point. Technically, the true inflation happened with Yulia not Adelina. Adelina’s jumps had speed, height and difficult entries and exits although the aesthetics were somewhat lacking. But hey, it’s a sport, not Bolshoi theatre. She deserved the GOEs on her jumps and certainly the spins for their much tougher execution than Yuna or Caro. Yulias jumps were overly inflated, not sure how she could get +3 for the jumps that barely took off 6 inches from the ice.

    By the way, a flutz is cheating by taking off on an inside edge instead of an outside edge of a true Lutz. Adelina barely flutz, the final moment before take off was still about flat, not inside edge. That’s about how Yunas triple flip was taken off a nearly flat edge rather than clear inside. So the judges were consistent in giving the benefit of the doubt and not penalising. Yulias lutz was more clearly flutzed, if there’s cheat, it’s hers.

    Where I think Adelina was over scored was in her component scores for artistry. No way could she have bettered Caro or Yuna. But she was clever in using her exuberance and played to the crowds and in that manner caused judges to score her big time.

    • Kathy

      I agree with your points about Yulia. but the judges aren’t supposed to be swayed by crowd reaction (cheering etc.) for any of the skaters. The Olympic committee has to make sure the judges are not the same nationality as the skaters. If they can’t do that, then let’s see to it that all the judges are American. ;-)

    • Rrhain

      Beyond that, they need to remove the judges from the federation. Figure skating is the only competition where the judges are members of the governing body rather than being an independent organization. Scott Hamilton has railed about this many times.

    • mmdir2005

      A member of Russian Skating Federation was in the judge panel. That said it all! She later hugged Adelina after she won. Anyone can see
      what the hell is that all about.

    • Yusdi

      Wow thank you for pointing out how unbelievably textbook yuna’s flip take off is :)
      Flip with ‘shallow’ inside edge(inside edge but still very close to flat edge) –correct edge

    • Yusdi

      Less flutz :(?? Come on there’s no such thing. If a jump took off with wrong edge, then it IS a wrong edge. Trying to make the obvious wrong edge with THE flip edge which has been considered for YEARS to be textbook on par? You proved you don’tknow a thing about skating for that paragraph alone.

  • GreatLakeSailor

    Typo in this?
    “Even with the wobble displayed in the GIF above, Adelina received 33 +3
    GOEs. And although she didn’t make the podium, fellow Russian Adelina
    was given 27.”

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      Yes! Thanks so much for catching that!

    • rr

      Excellent article. I wish the story would pick up more traction.

  • 차가운아이스크림

    저실력으로 깔끔하지 못한 연기를 했는데 러시아만 챔피언 소트니코바
    글로벌 챔피언 김연아^^

  • Chris Lion

    It’s an upset only because it was pretty much decided that the South Korean was going to win. Skating is all about politics and behind the scenes work. Skating gave up any idea of being legitimate years ago. It used to be that the technical scores carried big weight–not anymore. That’s dull. We want to see them fly and be graceful–who cares if they can’t really skate?

  • Marina

    People, if Kim would won the gold medal it would be a different group of 2 million unhappy people signing a petition saying that Kim won because of her name and previous achievements and poor young talented skaters were pushed away. So it is done and stop gossiping !

    • Marina

      P.S. Why nobody is complaining why Davis – White won, not Virtue – Moir ? Because nobody of them are Russian???

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      No, because in this article, I’m talking about the ladies free skate, not the ice dancing competition.

    • Saiya

      Why complain in this article when the author was clearly talking about the ladies’?
      Google is your friend. There have been a lot of articles about that.

    • HirosFan

      Yeah, and why is nobody complaining about Edward Snowden? It’s because he’s not Russian, right?

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      Hahaha.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      I don’t know if this qualifies as gossip.

    • mmdir2005

      So you believe 17yr junior skater Sotnikova lost to 23yr old veteran skater like Kim would be problem? What would complain for? For Nationalism? For Patriotism? Art is art. Not game of power politic. Art is a work of artist create human sentimental energy. The world fan saw Kim creative energy and no wonder she hold the world record FS score.

      When I saw Kim Yuna’s perform with “Send in the Clowns”, “oh no this is not real the tear …the tear..”

  • guest

    As a former figure skater I just wanted to say that “fluting” a jump is when you take off from the easier inside edge, instead of the harder outside edge. Inside edge is a flip and is a little bit easier. Outside edge takeoff is for a lutz. It is very common to “flutz” a lutz because the outside edge is harder to stay on while you are taking off.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      Got it, thanks!

  • Saiya

    Good article.
    One thing for sure, the russian’s score shouldn’t have gone anywhere CLOSE to this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noxpvATWzho

  • Mi-Ae Hong

    They need change suspicious judge system….This new system make more worst…..
    This is not a gossip because it will happen to other skater…..This article made point clearly….. is anyone who saw skater hugs judges after nominated 1st. Place????? The most of scandal winner trying to prove again in gala…I saw most skaters did good job at gala…The most of skater made at least 1 mistakes and other jumps are perfect…. but that winner didn’t made any of jump clearly again….that’s not a triple or double…..it’s just one single jump! All of her jumps are just like that photo from top….

  • Mi-Ae Hong

    For me….I don’t see skater hug judges….they mostly hug their coach. …and they go to link and thanks to audience who stay and watching until 1st place nominated. .. well… she can hug staff who working for this olympic. …why these judges are stay there and waiting her???

  • Liza

    ok so I am a skater and I am Russian, and I disagree with all who say that Adelina was not meant to stand on the podium. She had like 2x more jumps than your beloved Yuna Kim and Carolina Kostner. So what that the judges are hugging Adelina? They are just happy that she had won gold for their country. But again, if the Russians did cheat then im just sad. But we just don’t know, even with all your “evidence”.

    • You-Mi Choe

      You can’t be a skater. lol How come you don’t understand any technicality above article? You bet you won’t be able to explain how Mao got 8 points behind Sotnikova with two more triples and she cleaned it at her free performance.

    • Katie

      Adelina had a flutz and an under rotation. The technical controller (who is Russian) is the person who is in charge of pointing mistakes like those. Adelina made the exact flutz in other competitions before Sochi in the same season, and had gotten the proper deductions for it. But those deductions were not made in Sochi. The quantity of jumps does not go over quality, (*cough* FLUTZ *cough*) and clearly the judges didn’t voice that in the scoring.
      The fact that you’re a skater doesn’t justify your argument, get some real proof next time.

  • Billy

    Don’t forget Adelina made total 4 mistakes, three of which were NOT reflected by the judges on purpose. Another three mistakes are these: 1. wrong edge of triple luz, 2. full blade of triple luz, 3. under-rotated triple toe. If these were reflected, Adelina even cannot be on the podium. One more triple jump doesn’t matter in case Adelina made 4 mistakes. (Dear Liza, Adelina made only one more triple jump) Also, don’t forget the difficulty of Yuna’s short program was so much higher. BUT Adelina made nearly the same score.

  • rr

    Well written article. I think the comparisons to Kostner and Asada are especially telling. I hope this story picks up traction.

  • LGZ

    It was rigged :(. Yuna Kim was robbed of her gold medal :( and I’m not Korean but watched it 5x

  • Robin

    Hey Guys, this is what I collected for Yuna Kim in Sochi Olympic 2014.

    Hope this videos (all HD) and articles can be spread

    (Yuna kim in Sochi Olympic2014 * Adios Nonino/HD) (NBC)

    http://vimeo.com/87829978

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBS2vGzEeZY

    (Fan Cam 1/back Adios Nonino)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtK7iLqFSN0

    (FanCam 2 side/Adios Nonino

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXf_ntww6vU

    (FanCam 3/ close / Adios Nonino

    http://vimeo.com/87981057

    (Send in the Clowns/sochi2014 HD NBC version)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hl4_W5Sv_xE

    (Send in the clowns(short)

    Fan Cam1 HD)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCEfvBdc2h4

    (Send in the clowns(short)

    Fan Cam2HD)

    (Imagine (Gala) 2014 Sochi Olympic/ NBC Version

    http://vimeo.com/87933389

    (Imagine (Gala) 2014 Sochi Olympic / Fan Cam

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHCWDFQYkBw

    // The Picture in Nex York Times was photoshopped.

    http://just—ice.tumblr.com/post/77702094095/the-rebuttal-of-the-new-york-times-article

    ARTICLES

    http://blog.daum.net/2020wkid/7865 / The Important one

    http://mydearkorea.blogspot.ca/2014/02/sochi-figure-skating-scandal.html?m=1

    / The important one

    http://www.thewire.com/culture/2014/02/whole-new-set-questions-about-adelina-sotnikovas-allegedly-rigged-gold-medal-win/358425/

    / The important one

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/olympics/adelina-sotnikovas-olympic-gold-medal-win-over-kim-yu-na-will-be-endlessly-argued/2014/02/20/ba928286-9a7a-11e3-80ac-63a8ba7f7942_story.html

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/olympics/la-sp-sochi-figure-skating-plaschke-20140221,0,4308145.column#axzz2twvNkhBM

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/olympics/chi-women-figure-skating-gold-medal-20140220,0,863440.story

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/olympics/la-sp-sochi-figure-skating-plaschke-20140221,0,6601895.column

    http://espn.go.com/espnw/news-commentary/olympics/article/10493065/espnw-sport-figure-skating-again-leaves-fans-speculating-results

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/columnist/brennan/2014/02/21/figure-skating-scandal-sochi-olympics-adelina-sotnikova-yuna-kim/5680717/

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/olympics/wp/2014/02/21/womens-figure-skating-recap-did-adelina-sotnikova-beat-kim-yu-na-because-of-russiaflation/

    http://edition.cnn.com/2014/02/21/sport/kim-sotnikova-skating-controversy/index.html?hpt=isp_t4

    http://www.spiegel.de/sport/wintersport/olympia-in-sotschi-umstrittener-olympiasieg-im-eiskunstlauf-a-954770.html

    +

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/sports/2014/02/21/olympics/scandalous-outcome-skating-judges-steal-kims-title-hand-it-to-sotnikova/#.UwnsQvl_tOk

    http://www.welt.de/sport/olympia/article125077733/Sturm-der-Entruestung-nach-Eiskunstlauf-Gold.html

    http://www.fr-online.de/olympische-spiele-sotschi/olympia-eiskunstlauf-kim-yuna-skandalurteil-mit-folgen,24666502,26310672.html

    http://www.sueddeutsche.de/sport/olympiasiegerin-adelina-sotnikowa-schande-ueber-euch-preisrichter-1.1894627

  • Katie

    Also if you look at the scoring for Yuna’s short program, one of the judges gave one of her jumps a 0, which is clearly unfair because she had landed that jump perfectly with the correct rotations, edge, etc. Not only that, but Adelina was the one of the only skaters to get a level 4 on everything she did. Especially on step sequence. Step sequence is based on turn variety, deep edges, etc. Yuna had a more difficult step-sequence than Adelina, and Adelina got a level 4 while Yuna got a level 3.

    Also, the base value argument that people use to say in Adelina’s defense doesn’t make much of a difference either. If you combine the base value scores for both short & free program, the Adelina’s is only higher by 1.44 points.

    Adelina was also not deducted enough points in her 3F+2T+2Lo jumping passage. (the one she stepped out of.) Mistakes like that (2 foot landing, stepping out) are usually given a -2 or -3 GOE. However, she was only give a -0.9 GOE. That’s a VERY low deduction for her mistake.

    It’s really sad that people would do something like this to such an amazing skater. They should be ashamed of themselves. Sometimes I pity Adelina Sotnikova because despite the fact that she is still young & has many more international competitions to attend in the future, she will NEVER be able to get a score higher than what she got in Sochi. And don’t forget that the next Winter Olympics is in South Korea. Yuna may be retiring, but I’m sure she will be there to watch.

    For more detailed info & proof on the Yuna vs. Adeilna scoring check this article out: http://www.feverskating.com/fevers/64956111