South Koreas complaints over judging during the figure skating event at Sochi 2014 have been dismissed by the ISU Getty Images

June 5,2014(ISN) – The International Skating Union (ISU) has dismissed South Korea’s complaints over the judging of the women’s figure skating competition during Sochi 2014, where Kim Yu-Na missed out on gold to Russia’s Adelina Sotnikova.

There had been an outcry in South Korea, and other parts of the world, when judges awarded Sotnikova the gold medal ahead of Kim, despite the defending Olympic champion putting in what was seen as a flawless performance.The outrage led to the Korea Skating Union and South Korean Olympic Committee (KOC) filing a complaint to the ISU.They asked skating’s world governing body to look into the composition of the judges after it was discovered one, Alla Shekhovtseva – who is married to Valentin Piseev, the current general director of the Figure Skating Federation of Russia (FSFR) – embraced Sotnikova after she won her medal.”It is highly arguable that such action of Shekhovtseva clearly constitutes a lack of independence and harms the purpose and spirit of the ISU rules and it is therefore imperative that a thorough investigation for the judging composition and whether it was biased toward Sotnikova take place immediately,” the complaint alleged.It also added: “For Shekhovtseva, wife of a top Russian figure skating federation official to be embracing a compatriot she had just judged is a clear example of her being in a conflict of interest position which warrants intense scrutiny for her controversial biased judgement and act of impropriety.”It could be argued that marital ties to the FSFR fall under the definition of conflict of interest, calling into question her independence.”Further, such relationship with Mr. Piseev in his capacity as general director of FSFR, may be reasonably viewed as suggesting allegiance to Shekhovtseva’s national federation and Russian athletes such as Sotnikova participating in ladies’ single figure skating.”
 
South Korean officials had complained that Alla Shekhovtseva had hugged Adelina Sotnikova after she was awarded the gold medal, allegedly showing a lack of independence on the part of the Russian judge ©YouTube
 
South Korean officials had complained that Alla Shekhovtseva had hugged Adelina Sotnikova after she was awarded the gold medal, allegedly showing a lack of independence on the part of the Russian judge ©Youtube
 
After reviewing the complaint, which was filed on April 30, the three-person ISU Disciplinary Commission, made up of Volker Waldeck, Fred Benjamin and Susan Petricevic, ruled that “a conflict of interest can only arise if members of the same family officiate in the same competition”.”But only the alleged offender officiated as judge number six in the ladies’ event,” it added.”Her husband, Mr. Piseev, did not officiate in the same competition.”The fact alone of being the Director General of the Figure Skating Federation of Russia does not create a conflict of interest for the alleged offender.”It continued: “During the ladies’ competition, both in the short programme and free programme, the judging of the alleged offender was within the acceptable range of scores.”Congratulating a champion and winner of the gold medal in the opinion of the alleged offender is not a violation of rules but a normal gesture and an appreciation of the skater’s hard work.”She responded reflexively when the skater raised her arms for an embrace.”With this is mind, the Commission stated that the complaint of April 30 was “dismissed” with each party set to bear its own costs.Upon hearing the news, the KOC expressed its regret over the decision.

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