SOCHI, RUSSIA -- Well, that was interesting night at figure skating.
First, the history. Adelina Sotnikova became the first Russian to win Olympic gold in women's figure skating.
I was downstairs in a hallway just off the mixed zone interviewing American Gracie Gold, who finished fourth. A few minutes later, Sotnikova came sprinting past me and another writer friend in an otherwise empty hallway in the Iceberg Skating Palace.
We quickly realized that she saw Kim Yuna' scores in the TV in the mixed zone (interview area) and knew she had won gold. She turned and ran after her, followed by a large pack of journalists.
Sotnikova turned a corner and was out of sight. We saw replays of her hugging her coach down that hall.
A few national writers who have covered figure skating a long time arrived at the mixed zone and raised questions about the judging. USA Today columnist Christine Brennan posted this story about two of the judges, including the fact that the Russian judge is married to the president of the Russian figure skating federation.
Suddenly, the mixed zone became pretty chaotic as reporters tried to figure out if this was another Olympic judging scandal.
American Ashley Wagner said she did not see either Sotnikova’s or Kim’s performance, but she criticized her sport’s ambiguity in judging.
“This sport needs people who want to watch it,” Wagner said. “People do not want to watch a sport when they see someone skate lights out and they can’t depend on that person to be the one who pulls through. People need to be held accountable. They need to get rid of the anonymous judging. There are many changes that need to come to this sport if we want a fan base that can’t depend on this sport to always be there when you need it.”
Honestly, I don't know what to believe, but the sport's checkered history invites that skepticism. This is what happens when an outcome is decided by judging.