Now They're Cheating in ... Rhythmic Gymnastics?

Judges caught cheating on tests

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 17, 2013 12:19 PM CDT

(Newser) – The athletes all look so innocent in those sequined neon unitards, but rhythmic gymnastics (that's the one with the ribbons and hoops) is the latest Olympic sport caught up in a cheating scandal. But it isn't the athletes under fire. This time, the judges are the ones in trouble. Some 60 people have been accused of cheating, or allowing others to cheat, during exams last year to become a judge on the elite level, reports the New York Times, which scored documents from an International Gymnastics Federation investigation into the matter.

The alleged cheating, which occurred at several test sites across Europe, is apparently pretty blatant: Mistakes were copied from one paper to another, bonus points were awarded for no reason, and on one test, at least two distinct handwriting styles appeared. Already, one top Olympic official has been expelled and six more suspended, including American Caroline Hunt. Dozens of judges are still being investigated. "Judging issues in rhythmic gymnastics are almost as prolific as doping issues in cycling," says a former Olympic rhythmic gymnast. "This sport is very ill," agrees one judge. "It’s poisoned from head to toe."

The team from Russia performs during the rhythmic gymnastics group all-around final at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
The team from Russia performs during the rhythmic gymnastics group all-around final at the 2012 Summer Olympics.   (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
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