Last Thursday, the Sochi Winter Olympics Ladies Free Skate event in the singles Ladies Figure Skating final ended in a surprise upset and stirred up quite a bit of controversy in the figure skating world. The favorite for the gold, South Korea’s Yuna Kim, was the last to compete and ended with a total composite score of 219.11.


(Related: Sochi 2014 Coverage- All Hail Queen Yuna)


Adelina Sotnikova celebrates in first place ahead of Yuna Kim and Carolina Kostner. Alexander Demianchuk/Reuters.

Adelina Sotnikova celebrates in first place ahead of Yuna Kim & Carolina Kostner. Alexander Demianchuk/Photo: Reuters.

Unfortunately, this was not enough for Kim to defend the prize from the Russian Federation’s very own ice princess, Adelina Sotnikova, who on Wednesday, ended the first event of the singles Ladies Figure Skating event in second place behind Kim. Sotnikova finished the Free Skating event with a total score of 224.59 and became the first female to ever win a medal in the category for Russia. Italy’s Carolina Kostner took away the bronze with a total score of 216.73.


There was an explosion of questions and speculation immediately surrounding the event following Sotnikova’s win.  For instance, the media questioned the “convenience” of the anonymous judging system, the fact that one of the judges is married to the head of the Russian figure skating federation and that another judge was suspended for trying to fix an event at the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympic Games.  Lastly Sotnikova’s routine had a moment of clumsiness while Kim’s routine had been characteristically flawless.


U.S. skater Ashley Wagner expressed her outrage and skepticism of the outcome of the event as well as the judging system as a whole. Wagner, who finished the event in seventh place, said she felt “gypped” after her two performances were graded lower than 15-year-old Russian skater Yulia Lipnitskaya, who finished fifth in the Ladies Singles event. Lipnitskaya became the hometown darling after winning the gold for Russia in the debut of the Ladies Team Figure Skating medal events. While Wagner’s routine in the Ladies Singles medal events were relatively free of errors, Lipnitskaya fell once each in the Short Program and in the Free Skating events.


Some argue that the level of the Russian skaters’ routines were more advanced than the performances of Kim and others who may have kept their routines more tame. Others argue that the execution of the performance should prevail in scoring. With the judging being anonymous, there is no way of telling whether any rating was weighted unfairly. However, a petition imploring the International Skating Union to launch an open investigation of the judging of the event already had nearly two million signatures as of Saturday evening, suggesting that there might be some validity to Wagner’s claims.


The Sochi Olympic Games are the first Winter Olympics in which an American skater did not stand on the podium for the Singles Figure Skating medals. U.S. skater Gracie Gold was the closest with a total score of 205.53 at fourth place.


What was your reaction to Queen Yuna’s defeat in the Ladies Figure Skating event? Do you think that the scoring was fixed for the Russian team, or did they truly deserve their scores? Let’s talk Sochi before the Closing Ceremony, which takes place this evening, here in the comments or tweet me @TiffaniJPurdy. Thanks for following the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games with us here at MUIPR!