Everybody Is Freaking Out About Figure Skating Scores

Ashley Wagner says she's 'speechless' at Sotnikova's win
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2014 7:19 AM CST
People watch a TV news report with images of Russia's Adelina Sotnikova, left, and South Korea's Yuna Kim during the 2014 Winter Olympics, in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 21, 2014.   (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

(Newser) – Russia's Adelina Sotnikova pulled off a huge upset to win Olympic gold in women's figure skating yesterday, bumping defending champ and favorite Yuna Kim of South Korea to second place—and the world is not taking it well. American skater Ashley Wagner, who's definitely not afraid to express her feelings, sums up the problem as most people see it: "I saw a lot of very nice, decent landings [from Kim]," she said, whereas Sotnikova botched a landing, NBC News reports. "People don't want to watch a sport where you watch people fall down and somehow score above someone who goes clean," Wagner continues. Part of the problem: As NBC puts it, figure skating's scoring system "is harder to understand than the theory of relativity," and anonymous judging doesn't help.

Others expressed similar confusion, wondering how Sotnikova managed to win by such a large margin—and, in particular, why she was so far ahead of bronze medalist Carolina Kostner of Italy despite the fact that both attempted seven triple jumps. "I am stunned by this result, I don't understand the scoring," said former Olympic champion Katarina Witt on German TV. "You have to think being in Russia in front of a Russian audience has definitely helped," noted Johnny Weir on NBC (indeed, some are implying the whole thing was fixed, although the IOC insists there's no problem). The New York Times notes that all the confusion over scoring—even among fellow skaters—explains why the sport is "popular among mainstream fans only every four years." If you're outraged, join the more than 1.5 million people who've signed a petition asking for an investigation to be opened. If you'd rather see, point by point, exactly how Sotnikova won, click here. (Read more 2014 Sochi Olympics stories.)

My Take on This Story
Show results without voting  |