Tuesday, September 16, 2014
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Petition: Investigate gold for women's figure skating

The signature count at Change.org was growing at a record pace

Adelina Sotnikova of Russia competes in the women´s free skate figure skating finals at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo / Ivan Sekretarev)
Adelina Sotnikova of Russia competes in the women's free skate figure skating finals at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo / Ivan Sekretarev)

The fastest-growing petition ever at Change.org is calling for an investigation of the judging of women's figure skating at the Sochi Games in Russia.

After 730,000 people signed up in the first six hours, a Change.org spokeswoman declared shortly after midnight, "This is the most traffic we've ever seen ... coming in at five times our previous record."

By 10 this morning, nearly another million -- 1,659,125 in all -- had added their votes, calling for the International Skating Union to investigate. (See petition.)

The official result prompted accusations that somehow a home-ice advantage distorted the outcome, giving the gold to Russia's Adelina Sotnikova, with South Korea's Kim Yuna settling for the bronze.

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  • “How the hell were Yuna and Sotnikova so close in the components, I just don’t get it?” exclaimed four-time world champion Kurt Browning, according to Reuters. “Yuna Kim outskated her, full stop. I’m shocked. What, suddenly, she just became a better skater overnight? I don’t know what happened. I’m still trying to figure it out.”

    But not every expert saw injustice.

    NBC broadcaster Scott Hamilton, 1984 Olympic champ, said Sotnikova shrewdly exploited the scoring system, according to the Associated Press.

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

    “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.” 

    "Leave it to figure skating and judging, where winning can be obscured by whining," wrote AP sports writer Barry Wilner. "Any sport without a finish line or clock or some definitive standard is subject to skepticism about the results."

    Unless a formal complaint is lodged, the International Olympic Committee said it has no plans to investigate.

    Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.


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