Determine skating controversies: 1902-2022


Judges wished to ban her from competing, however no rule specified the gender of individuals. They have been pressured to let her skate and Syers earned second place behind Ulrich Salchow.

Quickly after, officers banned feminine athletes, claiming their skirts have been too lengthy and the judges could not see their footwork. Syers rapidly discovered an answer: a skirt that ended mid-calf.

She went on to win the British Nationals in 1903 and 1904 and the ladies’s World Championships in 1906 and 1907. Determine skating made its debut within the 1908 London Olympics and Syers received gold within the girls’s singles and bronze within the blended pairs, the place she skated alongside her husband, making her the primary lady to take dwelling two medals in only one Olympic Video games.

1988: Modesty and “The Katarina Rule”

On the 1988 Winter Olympics hosted in Calgary, German determine skater Katerina Witt wore a fancy dress {that a} male Canadian coach, Peter Dunfield, claimed was “bizarre and indecent … The actual provocative aspect is the again. However within the entrance, you’ve got even obtained cleavage.”
In keeping with the New York Times, Dunfield additionally steered that Witt is likely to be attempting to win over the judges with a revealing costume.

Witt defended her selection, saying the costume was acceptable for her music, which was from the Broadway present “Jerry’s Women.”

The controversy precipitated the ISU to undertake a brand new gown code: all girls have been required to put on skirts that lined their hips and backside, in addition to cowl their midriff.

This strict rule was relaxed in 2003, however the ISU nonetheless requires all clothes to be “modest, dignified and acceptable for athletic competitors.”

Katarina Witt at the Calgary 1988 Winter Olympics.

1994: Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding

Nancy Kerrigan was the sufferer of a plot to kneecap her — actually — previous to the 1994 Olympics. Kerrigan’s rival Tonya Harding’s ex-husband Jeff Gillooly was concerned within the plot.

Gillooly was sentenced to 2 years in jail for his function within the assault and Harding acquired three years of probation and was fined $100,000 for conspiring to hinder prosecution.

Kerrigan was nonetheless chosen for the Olympic group regardless of her damage and went on to earn a silver medal on the 1994 Olympic in Lillehammer.

Harding maintained her innocence all through the video games, however on March 16, only a few weeks after closing ceremonies, she pleaded responsible to hindering the prosecution.

A number of months later the US Determine Skating Affiliation revoked her gold medal on the 1994 nationwide championships and banned her from the ice for all times.

Subsequently the scandal was immortalized within the 2017 drama, “I, Tonya” starring Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan and Allison Janney.

Requested by The Boston Globe if she was bothered by Hollywood’s portrayal of Harding, Kerrigan stated “It is probably not a part of my life.”

“As you say, I used to be the sufferer,” she stated. “Like, that is my function on this entire factor. That is it.”

US figure skater Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan take a break during training in 1994.

1998: Surya Bonaly backflips and judges flip out

The day earlier than Surya Bonaly was set to carry out her free skate on the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, she pulled a muscle in her proper leg, although figuring out that these Winter Video games have been her final, the French star was dedicated to competing.

In a 2016 interview with Radiolab, Bonaly recounted her efficiency, saying by the top of this system the ache in her leg was insufferable and she or he could not carry out the 2 triples she had left in her routine.

However Bonaly “had a particular factor in her again pocket” to wow the gang, performing an unlawful backflip touchdown on simply her left blade.

It did not go down nicely with judges, who handed Bonaly a rating that dropped her from sixth to eleventh place.

In recent times, followers have questioned if race may need performed an element in her profession, although each Bonaly and former judges deny any bias.

“We’re all people, all of us have completely different kinds. And we will create a distinct character of character on ice,” Bonaly instructed CNN’s Amy Woodyatt on Friday.

“You need to discover your individual type, and it’s important to put it aside to provide it … Once you watch 20 skaters doing the identical factor again and again, I imply, what’s about it?

“Skating known as free skating, so presupposed to be free, nevertheless it’s probably not free, totally free as a result of there’s guidelines to observe and in case you do not, you are in large bother.

Bonaly instructed CNN that her routines have been typically penalized by judges.

“I keep in mind again within the days I used to love jumps and combos, and if I’ll do one additional one soar after a combo as a result of I felt like “oh, triple, triple and a double. You really obtained in bother since you did an excessive amount of of that,” she stated.

“I feel that judges must be extra open minded, to have the ability to obtain and see issues coming from completely different locations — a distinct manner of what has been introduced on the ice.”

Surya Bonaly performs a backflip in her free skate routine.

1998: Judging scandal uncovered

On the 1998 Olympics, Jean Senft — a Canadian skating decide — surreptitiously recorded a dialog with a fellow Ukrainian decide, Yuri Balkov, the place they freely mentioned how they might place ice dancers earlier than they’d even competed.

Senft had beforehand approached officers together with her issues about corruption amongst her colleagues however was instructed she wanted proof.

After enjoying the tape at an ISU listening to, Balkov was banned for one 12 months. Quickly after, Senft additionally suffered a six-month suspension for allegedly favoring a Canadian pair, although she claims the suspension was retaliation in opposition to her.

“The athletes usually are not competing on a good enjoying discipline. This is not sport. Any individual needed to get proof,” Senft instructed CBC Information in 2000.

After the scandal, small reforms have been made to judging necessities and deductions.

2002: “Skategate”

After Canadians Jamie Sale and David Pelletier produced a flawless free skate on the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake Metropolis, the gold medal was awarded to the Russian duo: Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze, who had sufficient technical errors of their efficiency to name the consequence into query.

When the judges met to defend the outcomes, French decide Marie-Reine Le Gougne claimed that the French Skating Federation president, Didier Gailhauguet, had directed her to rank the Russian pair first.

Quickly proof emerged of a quid professional quo between Russian and French votes within the pairs determine skating and ice dancing occasions.

Le Gougne and Gailhauguet have been suspended for 3 years and there was an overhaul of the judging system in determine skating, with strict protocols eliminating the room for subjective judgment.

“Meddling,” a four-part collection was launched final month on Peacock chronicling the scandal.

Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze of Russia celebrate gold at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.

2010: Russian duo’s efficiency sparks cultural backlash

Reigning world champions in ice dancing, the Russian duo Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin carried out a dance impressed by Aboriginal tradition at each the Russian and European Championships.

The pair skated to music that was largely chants and didgeridoos whereas sporting pink loin cloths, physique fits with white markings and make up that gave the impression to be brown face.

Their efficiency sparked outrage amongst Aboriginal activists in Australia who claimed the routine was culturally exploitative and inauthentic.
“Correct or not, it’s important to be delicate to the folks you might be representing,” Jef Billings, a famend designer of skating costumes, instructed The New York Occasions in 2010.

“On the flip of the final century, minstrel exhibits have been acceptable. Occasions have modified.”

The Russian duo’s coach, Natalia Linichuk ,was shocked on the outrage, denying any wrongdoing or ill-intent and claiming that the dance was not primarily based on anyone Aboriginal tradition.

Bev Manton, chairwoman of the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council, expressed her anger within the Sydney Morning Herald: “From an Aboriginal perspective, this efficiency is offensive. It was clearly not meant to mock Aboriginal tradition, however that doesn’t make it acceptable to Aboriginal folks.”

2014: US Skating Federation group choice questioned

Mirai Nagasu took dwelling the bronze medal on the 2014 US nationwide championships however was handed over for the Sochi Olympic group in favor of fourth place finisher, Ashley Wagner.

The US Skating Federation had solely ignored the nationwide championship outcomes 4 instances till then, in all circumstances due to accidents that prevented the chosen athletes from competing.

The federation defended its selection, citing Wagner’s increased world rankings and Nagasu’s inconsistent document over the previous 12 months.

Nonetheless, Jeff Yang of the Wall Road Journal discovered it onerous to disregard the aesthetics of the selection, calling Wagner a “golden woman” together with her blonde hair and blue eyes.

His claims had a hoop of reality for some followers, particularly when taking a look at earlier remedy of Asian American skaters; together with one media headline claiming, “American beats out Kwan.” Kwan being Michelle Kwan of the US group, who was born in Torrance, California.

4 years later Nagasu received a bronze medal on the Winter Olympics in South Korea.

Nagasu additionally landed a triple axel — one of the vital difficult jumps in determine skating. In doing so she completed a feat that made her the primary feminine American determine skater to nail the triple axel on the Olympics.

On the finish of her routine, Nagasu triumphantly threw her palms within the air and a vibrant, exuberant smile unfold throughout her face.

Mirai Nagasu (L) and Ashley Wagner (R) on the podium together.

2022: Kamila Valieva’s constructive medication take a look at

In a pattern taken in December, previous to the Olympics, 15-year-old Valieva examined constructive for the banned coronary heart remedy trimetazidine, a drug generally used to deal with angina and which consultants say can improve endurance by growing blood circulate to the guts.

Eileen Gu and Kamila Valieva became the teenage faces of Beijing 2022 under wildly contrasting circumstances

Nonetheless, the consequence was solely analyzed and reported to Russian Anti-Doping Company (RUSADA) in February. Valieva was then suspended the day after she led the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) to gold within the determine skating group occasion on February 7 when she turned the primary lady to land a quadruple soar in a Winter Olympic Video games.

RUSADA lifted her suspension the subsequent day following a listening to. Subsequently the World Anti-Doping Company, the Worldwide Olympic Committee and the ISU filed an attraction in opposition to the lifting of the ban.

Nonetheless, the Courtroom of Arbitration for Sport cleared Valieva for competitors, saying she would undergo “irreparable hurt” if not allowed to compete, citing the “distinctive circumstances” of her being a minor.

Valieva finished in fourth place within the girls’s particular person determine skating occasion on Thursday, leaving the ice in tears after falling and faltering throughout jumps in her routine, regardless of having beforehand been the favourite to take gold.

Earlier than being cleared to participate within the girls’s particular person determine skating competitors, Valieva was suspended by the RUSADA on February 8, though the physique lifted her suspension the subsequent day following a listening to.

Aleks Klosok and Amy Woodyatt contributed to this report.

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