Winter Olympics Figure Skating Controversy Petition Reaches 1.7 Million Signatures

More than one million people have signed a petition to change the results of the women’s figure skating finals at the Winter Olympics after Thursday’s controversial finish.

Many believe that gold medalist Adelina Sotnikova from Russia wasn’t as good as silver medalist Juna Kim from South Korea — the defending Olympic champion — and they are so outraged that the Russian skater apparently got preferential treatment that they have started the online petition at Change.org.

The petition initiated by “Justice Seeker” is titled:

“Open Investigation into Judging Decisions of Women’s Figure Skating and Demand Re-judgement at the Sochi Olympics.”

The organizer quotes several prominent athletes and journalists that question the results of the women’s figure skating finals at the Sochi Winter Olympics.

Included in the list of personalities mentioned is Katarina Witt — the last woman to win back to back gold medals at the Winter Olympics–, Terra Findlay — Canadian ice dancer –, the ESPN official website, and others as examples of those questioning the final results.

Adelina Sotnikova became the first Russian woman to win a gold medal in figure skating for her country in the individual event and almost immediately after the result was revealed social media was set afire with complaints and cries of foul.

Questions arose as to the makeup of the judging panel and the little transparency that exists in the current points system, which was introduced after the 2002 Salt Lake City scandal.

Sotnikova’s coach, Elena Buyanova, defended her pupil on Friday:

“Today’s figure skating comprises those evaluations that include a program, steps, jumps. 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.”

For many South Korean, however, Juna Kim — who is 23-years-old and will retire after Sochi — was robbed and performed a much better routine than Sotnikova.

Adding fuel to the fire, 1984 and 1988 gold medalist, German Katarina Witt said on German TV, “I am stunned by this result, I don’t understand the scoring.”

However, Scott Hamilton — former Olympic champion and NBC analyst — didn’t find anything wrong with the decision:

“Adelina collected more points. That is really the only way you can describe it. 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.”

“It may not have been as beautiful as Yuna and Carolina, but under the rules and the way it works, she did all that. (…) I think it was a just strategy that worked on the night.”

During the live broadcast, the NBC commentators argued that Sotnikova’s technical difficulty level was slightly higher than that of Kim or Kostner, who won the bronze.

Even though American Ashley Wagner — who didn’t medal — questioned the accuracy of the points system used to judge the Winter Olympics figure skating event and the lack of openness surrounding it, most athletes steer clear of the controversy.