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S. Korea to file complaint over Winter Games figure skating judging

2014/03/21 13:46

SEOUL, March 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will file an official complaint with the international governing body for figure skating over the controversial composition of the judging panel for the ladies' singles competition at this year's Winter Olympics, officials said on Friday.

South Korean star Kim Yu-na won the silver medal in the event at the Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia last month, finishing more than five points behind Adelina Sotnikova of Russia in a decision that baffled many experts and fans alike. Those who questioned the result pointed out that Kim performed a near-flawless routine in her free skate while Sotnikova made a noticeable landing mistaking during her program.

Kim, who retired after Sochi, took the result in stride and repeatedly said she put the Olympics behind her. Yet millions of her supporters signed an online petition to demand an inquiry into what they believed was rigged judging. Under pressure to take action for one of the country's most iconic athletes, the Korean Olympic Committee (KOC) and the Korea Skating Union (KSU) finally said they will approach the International Skating Union (ISU).

An official with the KOC said it will send a joint letter with the KSU to the ISU after obtaining Kim's consent. The official said the two South Korean bodies will demand a thorough investigation into the makeup of the judging panel in Sochi and also ask the ISU take extensive reform measures to prevent a recurrence of such judging disputes.

The panel for the free skate included Alla Shekhovtseva of Russia, who is married to the head of the Russian figure skating body, Valentin Pissev. Another member, Yuri Balkov of Ukraine, had once been suspended from judging for a year after trying to fix the ice dancing competition at the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics.

Also, Alexander Lakernik, vice president of the Russian skating federation, headed the technical panel, which assesses skaters' spins and jumps, among other technical elements.

Kim scored 219.11 points in total, the third best mark of her decorated career that includes the 2010 Olympic gold and two world championships. Sotnikova earned 224.59 points, the first time she earned more than 200 points in a competition other than Russian and European championships.



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