Was Yuna Kim robbed of a gold medal at the Sochi Winter Olympics by Russian skater Adelina Sotnikova? According to a Change.org petition the answer is yes.
As of 12:00 a.m. EST there were 1,868,198 signatures on the petition entitled "Open Investigation into Judging Decisions of Women's Figure Skating and Demand Rejudgement at the Sochi Olympics." Even more surprising? This is the most traffic the Change.org website has ever received. Supporters of the 23-year-old South Korean skater were adding 100,000 signatures every 15 minutes, according to the organization.
Russia's Adelina Sotnikova had a total score of 224.59, while Kim finished with a final score of 219.11. Though the numbers were far from close Kim's fans says Sotnikova stepped out after landing her triple. They also question the new scoring system, which was implemented in 2002.
The feeling that Kim was snubbed by the Sochi judges doesn't seem to be going away any time soon. Skating fans across the globe found themselves torn over Sotnikova's technical skills and Kim's elegant choreography.
1984 Olympic skater Scott Hamilton, who was also an NBC commentator at Sochi, understands fans' frustrations. But he said, at the end of the day, today's Olympic skating is calculated based on a mathematical equation. "Adelina collected more points. That is really the only way you can describe it," Hamilton said. "If you look at Yuna of the past, this was not a program as difficult as she has done, and she left the opportunity for someone to collect points on that side of the scoring."
Nevertheless Kim, who won the Olympic gold in Vancouver, has a charming elegance on the ice. She didn't have as many triple jumps and lutzes. But she has a dancer's quality that's difficult to ignore.
The current scoring system is relatively new. After an Olympic judging scandal rocked the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, the Olympic committee designed a more specific grading system. But in an effort to justify scores, the new system prizes technical merit over grace and style.
Of course, Sotnikova's coach, Elena Buyanova, has no problem with the new system. "Today's figure skating comprises those evaluations that include a program, steps, jumps," Sotnikova's coach, Elena Buyanova, said Friday. "We were not behind in our complexity, rotations, and I think we should be proud of our two girls because they did not give in to the world elite."
Peter Tchernyshev, who won five U.S. ice dance titles, told The Associated Press that it's impossible to find a judging system that makes everyone happy. "It's so hard to find the ideal system that would work for everyone, when it comes to even making the rules of figure skating," said Peter Tchernyshev, who won five U.S. ice dance titles under the 6.0 formula. "It's not track and field when you ran faster. Or lifted more weight. Or jumped higher. Again, it's very subjective."
Kim's fans on Twitter didn't exactly see it that way. Check out some of the South Korean skater's fans' comments below:
Another skater may have won gold, but Yuna Kim won our hearts. And frankly our hearts are more valuable than a single gold medal. #Sochi2014
— Ryan McElveen (@RyanLMcElveen) February 22, 2014
— Nancy Pak (@koreanyenta) February 21, 2014
— Steve Wood (@Jackson0930) February 21, 2014
— Jonathan Newman (@sportscribeblog) February 21, 2014
I know she says she's retiring, but Yuna Kim is going to have an entire country (plus me) hoping she skates at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics
— Alex Goldberger (@alexgoldberger) February 21, 2014
— 누리 Christian KIRS (@kirswow) February 20, 2014
— J A Jenkins (@VerbalKarate) February 20, 2014
As beautiful as Adelina Sotnikova's performance was, I don't believe that she should have taken gold over Yuna Kim #somethingsnotrighthere
— Lauren Enos (@Laurenesque) February 20, 2014