Seriously, power and money play in 21st century? Is that how ISU wants to operate? Dependant on lobbying and corrupt sponsorship? I learned about how nasty this thing could get. Even before all this mayhem of Sochi 2014, since Torino 2006, where a Japanese skater was awarded a gold medal, Japan invested a lot of money and many Japanese corporations sponsored (and lobbied) ISU Figure skating in hopes to cultivate the sport in Japan.
Example: Official ISU Sponsors for 2013 World Figure Skating Championships
Japanese Financial Group Acom, Canon cameras of Japan, Maruhan bank of Japan, Sato Pharmaceutical of Japan, Tokyo Electron, and 2 other Japanese companies mentioned. 7 out of 13 sponsors are Japanese corporations who sponsored 2013 World Figure Skating Championships.
* oh and by the way, there was a controversy in 2013 Worlds on Short program scores – How Yuna was graded harshly and got an edge call on her Triple Flip when she didn’t have the out edge.
Anyway, with sponsorship, and with no doubt an incredible talent, Mao Asada was able to emerge as a new figure skating icon of Japan, even given her own ice rink to practice in. So you can say, what’s so wrong with sponsorship? It helps to get the sport going – but not when the sponsorship influences judging process. The infamous outcome of this was in 2008 World Figure skating championships, I learned. Asada Mao ended up winning, and in her free skate, she completely missed Triple Axel, getting 0 thereby ripping her nearly 8-9 points, and pretty much skated around doing no element for 30 seconds but no deductions on PCS score. Ultimately, Mao still ended up winning anyway by getting high GOEs on every other element. On the contrary, the grading was harsh towards Yuna startinf from the short program - even when she executed all her elements with great stability - with low GOEs, whom the Japanese was considering a rivalry of Mao. Even Carolina got boost in her score, thereby beating Yuna to her silver. Yuna ended up getting bronze. (Cinquanta Italy, Japanese sponsors!!)
And fast forward to post 2010, as ISU was preparing for 2014, ISU created a team event in Russia's favour, and raised the base values for harder jumps, like Triple Axel, in Japan's (Mao's) favour - so obvious. I dug deep into these behind stories and was fascinated at how ISU was basically run by these sponsors and lobbyists.
So, what about Sochi? What about Russia and Putin, having such close ties with Mr.Ottavio, who practically was the "Avatar" of Putin and Russia during 2014 Olympic host city election bidding, supporting Russia all the way. And, finally in 2014, all that sponsoring and close ties came to a climax. The host city, friendly to Ottavio, the boss of ISU. Oh and I bet the Japanese judges would have rather wanted to see Yuna go down, than get another gold in Olympics. And US judges, even the Korean judge, they were all part of the big plan. Plan to present Russia a first gold medal in Ladies Figure skating.
(Oh and why hasn’t Korean Skating Union taken action about all this? Only Koreans know it, so I've heard, but there’s a huge problem with Korean Skating Union with corruption, power struggles, and politics; and a Korean lady who is the vice president of KSU, Ji Hee Lee, also an international figure skating judge at ISU, has always been very fond of Mao’s triple axel and has always been discouraging Yuna that Yuna’s TES scores weren’t high enough, WRONGFULLY grilling Yuna about edge problems when Yuna DIDN'T have problems, and forcing Yuna to get into harder elements when she wasn’t ready – Yuna suffered from lots of injuries because of this. So the point is, everybody in Korea sees Ji Hee as a suck-up to ISU, in other words, Japanese force behind ISU. Not just her but the very existence of Korean Skating Union seems to be for being a sidekick of ISU. So don’t be so quick to say having one Korean judge in short program did justice to this whole judge selection. The result was very well decided starting from the short program; Yuna was brought down in her scores – which I’ll explain later. Besides, as ISU claims, if the highest score and lowest score are eliminated, Korean judge alone can’t do anything to boost Yuna’s marks by giving her all perfect score.)
*In the petition that is asking Koreans to apologize to Sotnikova, is it a coincidence that a lot more Japanese are signing the petition than the Russians?
But who needs to apologize first? Who was the victim here?
Now, for those who firmly believe that Sotnikova got the gold with a difficult program…
- Planning a difficult program and actually executing the planned elements are different. You screw up the element, you get deductions. The point is how well you do these elements and how much you’re awarded for it – GOEs. And as the article above suggests, it’s a mystery how Sotnikova, and Lipnitskaya, got such high GOEs and all level 4’s on all elements, especially the jumps, even better than the best skater like Kim, Kostner, Mao? And technically speaking, Yuna had a more difficult triple combination jump 3 lutz and 3T vs Adelina’s easier combination 3T3T (by the way, Adelina got higher GOE - 1.6 for 3T3T and Yuna only got 1.5 for 3Lutz3T - Yuna's 3-3 jumps were beyond perfect. And Triple Flip? Adelina got 1.2 when Yuna got 1.1?) so when you add up short program score and long program score, the TES base value gap is no that huge at all. Also, people talk about Yuna not having triple loop – but Yuna had the second Triple Lutz, which is actually worth more than triple loop.
- It is said that Yuna was playing safe in her free program. But Adelina also had to cut down on her high point element too – Triple Lutz Triple Loop combination in her short program because she kept having problems throughout Grand Prix competitions 2013-2014 season. Adelina had to change it to Triple Toe and Triple Toe for stability and higher chance of success. I don’t know what else to call it other than playing it safe. Yuna, on the other hand, had two solid triple lutz triple toe combinations throughout her short and free program, which is one of the hardest triple combinations.
- Yuna’s step sequences weren’t her strongest point (compared to the jumps anyway), but never her weak points. The step sequences in Adios Nonino (Free program) was said to be the most difficult and technically challenging out of all of Yuna’s programs in the past – but only got level 3. Adelina's chreographer seems to have added a lot of free legging routine that ice dancers do for her step sequence, to make it look more colorful. But when you are not a skilled skater with good deep edge use, it will not be a plus for the routine - with Adelina's Juniorish level skating, it looked like Adelina's doing more stuff, but it only made it messy. Just because Yuna makes it look so easy and effortless, it doesn't mean she's doing less. Yuna's footwork and deep edge use in this competition was at top level. I really wish ISU would show how they graded Yuna on the step sequence – compared to how they graded Adelina. Considering Yuna had bigger ice usage and had no time for rest - carried out all the elements one after the other in a rather fast pace - Who says Adios nonino was an easier program than Sotnikova's?
- Yuna's spin is not her weak point either. "Yuna camel spin" is a variation of camel spin, which requires great flexibility and Yuna has been the only one who was able to do this spin - Who says Yuna's not as athletic as Adelina? And generally with other spins, Yuna is not super fast or powerful like the Russian skaters who can do all these crazy spins; but Yuna is poised and is never messy or all over the place (never loses the focus point while spinning - clean and concise). She can't pull off level 4 layback spin though, because of her back issues I think - but even as level 3, she should have easily earned high GOEs.
- If you would look at videos of the performances by Yuna and Adelina, the broadcasting by Russia gave Yuna disadvantage by gettting a camera angle that minimizes the speed, the distance, and the ice coverage. On the other hand, Adelina got the camera angle that makes it hard to see the edge problems in her jump and it maximized her speed etc. So when tech panels monitor the videos, it looks like Adelina did way better than she actually did.
Adelina Sotnikova 2013-2014
- She always got wrong edge on triple lutz this whole season up to European championships; suddenly she was never penalized for the wrong edge in Olympics. Was she able to fix it in a month or less? No, and clearly one judge saw the edge problem and gave her -1 GOE on Triple Lutz in the free program, but was probably eliminated as an outlier.
- Her step sequence in free program has been consistently getting level 3, never 4, but suddenly she got level 4 in the Olympics. Was there any difference or significant improvement between the step sequence that she did in European Championships (she bombed all her free programs the whole season of 2013-2014 and this was her best one) and the one from Olympics? See for yourselves. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3haHNXUR3M
- Adelina has been bluntly caught with under rotations throughout 2014 season up to European championships, but Adelina suddenly became invincible – even to non-expert bare eyes, I could see that triple toe jump in the combination was under-rotated.
* Yuna’s second lutz in free program had proper entry, full rotations, everything intact, just a shaky landing – but she managed not to fall or land with two feet.
- PCS scores; Looking at the whole season leading up the Olympics, not once was Adelina able to pull off a clean program, and when she , for the most part, held together her program at the Olympics, it seems natural that PCS would go up – I don’t deny that. But to go from 69 at European Championships to 74 at the Olympics with the same program is a LOT!
1) ISU grand Prix Cup of china 174.70
Sp: 66.03 TES 35.86 (Triple lutz Triple loop – under rotation so 11.10 to 8, LSp4, StSq4) PCS 30.17 (all 7’s)
LP: 108.67 TES 50.36 (Edge call on Lutz, Lsp3, Stsq2) PCS 60.31 (all 7’s)
2) ISU Grand Prix Trophee Eric Bompard 189.81
SP: 60.01 TES 29.24 (wrong edge on Lutz, Lsp3, Stsp3) PCS 30.77 (all 7’s)
LP: 129.80 TES 65.15(Wrong Edge on Lutz, LSp3, StSq3) PCS 64.65 (3 8’s, 2 7’s)
3) Grand Prix Final 173.30
Sp: 68.38 TES 37.53 (3T3T, LSp4, StSq4) PCS 30.85 (all 7’s)
LP: 104.92 TES 46. 45 (Tried Triple Lutz and Triple Loop - Wrong Edge on Lutz, LSp3, StSq3) PCS 60.47 (all 7’s)
4) European Championships 202.36
Sp: 70.73 TES 37.15 (3T3T, Lsp4, StSq3) PCS 33.58 (all 8’s)
LP: 131.63 TES 62.03 (wrong edge on Lutz, triple loop under rotated, LSp3, StSq3) PCS 69.60 (all 8’s)
So all in all,
Can ISU honestly say... They weren't swayed by hugh sponsors like Japan or power and close ties with Russia? Can ISU really say these accusations are way off base and totally wrong?
You ought to break your silence, because this time, this controversy, no, this scandal, is not going away easy. And we demand justice.
*To all those who thankfully took their time to sign this petiton, please come and visit a facebook page, "Golden Yuna"
- IOC and ISU for overlooking lobbying, corrupt sponsorships, and favoured judging
Apologize and give Yuna Kim the gold medal back. Purify ISU Judging system and and give everyone solemn words that ISU will not be affected by sponsorship and lobbying, for the sake of sportsmanship.
Stacey Lazek started this petition with a single signature, and now has 16,895 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.