By EMMA CEPLINSKAS

History was made at the Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi, Russia where 17 year old Russian figure skater Adelina Sotnikova received the host country's first Olympic gold medal for ladies figure skating. However, a great controversy has developed concerning Sotnikova’s gold medal, questioning whether the competition was fixed so that a Russian won the gold.

The silver medal was awarded to Yuna Kim, South Korea's top skater, nicknamed the queen of figure skating. At the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, Kim proved her nickname to ring true and reigned supreme, setting new records in both the short program and free skate, paving the path towards gold. But four years later, Sotnikova seems to have taken the crown along with harsh criticism.

At the Iceberg, Kim held the lead in the short program with Sotnikova right behind, biting at her heels. During the free skate, Sotnikova performed a nearly flawless routine with only a small bobble. Kim was the final skater to take to the ice where the fans held their breath as the queen glided her way into the top three.

It was a nail biter as to whether Sotnikova or Kim would be on the top tier of the podium. Fans chanted Kim's name before the final results as they thought it would be a repeat of Vancouver. But this was not the case.

By a margin of almost a six point difference, Sotnikova triple looped herself into the gold. Kim included six triple jumps in her program, but Sotnikova included one more jump, a triple loop, which US Olympian Evan Lysacek presumed that it determined the final score that set Sotnikova apart from Kim.

As Russia rejoiced in the glory of its first gold medal for ladies figure skating, others formed a petition to investigate the suspicion around the judging panel at the competition. The petition was posted on change.org and gained nearly 2 million signatures.

Out of 13 judges, nine are chosen to be on the panel. Yuri Balkov of the Ukraine who had previously been suspended from judging after engaging in the ice dance rigging in Nagano, Japan was on the panel along with Alla Shekhovtseva. Shekhovtseva is married to the director of the Russian ice skating federation which only enhanced suspicions for a fixed judging. An anonymous scoring system has made it difficult to determine if cheating took place on Feb. 20, 2014.

US figure skater Ashley Wagner who competed alongside Sotnikova and Kim spoke out against the anonymous judging system, saying that "[the rules are] not clear enough to the audience and it needs to be more fan friendly," after speaking to NBC. Frank Carroll, the coach of US figure skater Gracie Gold who placed fourth at Sochi for ladies figure skating, also found the scoring to be inaccurate, arguing that the component scores were not up to par.

The investigation has not yet been set into motion as the petition still needs almost a million signatures. But will this dissatisfaction among figure skating fans cause a change in the results or perhaps even the entire scoring system for the sport?

 

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