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Olympics roundup: South Korea protests women’s figure skating result

Associated Press

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The South Korean Olympic Committee has protested the results of the women’s figure-skating competition, although the sport’s international governing body said Saturday it has not yet received the letter.

International Skating Union rules always have required such protests be filed immediately after the event.

The Koreans believe the judging was biased and cost Yuna Kim a second gold medal. The 2010 champion finished with silver, behind Russian teenager Adelina Sotnikova.

Much of the uproar over the women’s free skate centers on what many perceived as a lack of artistry in Sotnikova’s program. Yet her marks were comparable or better than those for the highly artistic Kim. Her technical marks were significantly better.

Bronze medalist Carolina Kostner of Italy also fell into the same category as Kim in her marks.

Asked to comment on South Korean media reports of the protest, International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams on Saturday said any figure-skating issues would be a matter for the international union to handle.

“They have their processes and regulations,” Adams said. “From what I understand, the letter wouldn’t trigger any investigation.”

The skating union said it had not received the letter, and declined to comment further.

On Friday, the International Skating Union released a news release saying it “is confident in the high quality and integrity of the ISU judging system.”

“The ISU is strongly committed to conducting performance evaluations strictly and fairly and has adequate procedures in place to ensure the proper running of the sporting competitions,” the release said. “The officiating judges were selected by random drawing from a pool of 13 potential judges. All judges in an event represent different ISU member federations. The ladies’ free-skating panel included judges from Canada, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, Slovakia and Ukraine.”

Scott Hamilton, the 1984 Olympic champion and a longtime television analyst who worked the games in Sochi for NBC, sees an intrinsic flaw in that setup. He believes the judges should be insulated from the day-to-day management of the sport, not a part of the federations that run it.

“The problem was never the scoring system,” Hamilton said of the 6.0 format that was changed to the points system soon after the 2002 Olympics pairs scandal. “It was how the judges are selected for these competitions. What happened in Salt Lake City resulted in this scoring system not treating the issue. Every sport out there has an affiliated association of officials. They are separate from the federation, and figure skating is hesitant to do that. It is a fundamental issue that leads to people having a hard time taking the results as the results.”

Cross country skiing

Marit Bjoergen is now the most decorated female Winter Olympian in history with 10 total medals and six gold, including three in Sochi and three from Vancouver. Her career total puts her one ahead of Russian cross-country skier Lyubov Egorova, who had six golds and three silvers. Two other women — Stafania Belmondo of Italy and Soviet skier Raisa Smetanina — also have 10 medals, but fewer golds. Therese Johaug took silver in the 30K race, while Kristin Stoermer Steira completed the Norwegian sweep by winning bronze.

Speedskating

The Dutch men’s team of Sven Kramer, Jan Blokhuijsen and Koen Verweij set an Olympic record of three minutes, 37.71 seconds in the team pursuit. The Netherlands also held the old record of 3:39.95, set in Vancouver four years ago. South Korea took the silver and Poland the bronze. In the women’s race, the Netherlands team of Ireen Wust, Marrit Leenstra and Jorien ter Mors also set an Olympic record of 2:58.05. Poland took silver and Russia bronze. Wust now has won five medals in Sochi, more than any other athlete — two golds and three silvers.

Biathlon

Russian anchor Anton Shipulin beat Germany’s Simon Schempp on the final lap to give the host nation its first biathlon gold of the Sochi Olympics. The 4x7.5-kilometer relay was the last biathlon competition at the games. Defending champion Norway led for most of the race but dropped to fourth after anchor Emil Hegle Svendsen missed three targets in his final shooting. Germany got the silver and Austria the bronze.

Snowboarding

The American-born Vic Wild, who became a Russian citizen in 2011 after marrying Russian snowboarder Alena Zavarzina, won gold in parallel giant slalom. Wild and another adopted Russian, former South Korean short-track speedskater Viktor Ahn, have won five of Russia’s 11 gold medals in Sochi. Zan Kosir of Slovenia took silver behind Wild, and Benjamin Karl of Austria won bronze. In the women’s parallel slalom, Dujmovits edged Anke Karstens of Germany at the finish. Amelie Kober of Germany won bronze.


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