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When photos surfaced of a Russian figure skating judge — married to the general director of the Russian Skating Federation — hugging her countrywoman Adelina Sotnikova minutes after the latter won the Olympic gold medal at Sochi, the International Skating Union issued a statement that it “is confident in the high quality and integrity of the ISU judging system.”

Hours later, ISU President Ottavio Cinquanta said: “Would you rather have an idiot acting as a judge than a good one who is a relative of the manager of a federation? It is far more important to have a good judge.”

Why did the ISU and its president issue hasty responses before taking a moment to consider the evidence? For example, South Korea’s Yuna Kim’s step sequence was erroneously rated lower than Sotnikova’s — there were no point deductions for Sotnikova’s use of the wrong edges — and Mao Asada cleanly skated a more difficult technical program than Sotnikova, who scored 7 points higher.

The ISU should be concerned with the potential negative impact on the sport because of questionable judging, such as why a youngster would take up figure skating and why fans wouldn’t turn to other sports.

If the ISU is bent on falling on its own sword, it should do nothing. If the ISU cares about the future of figure skating, it should investigate the Olympic scores. At the very least, wouldn’t an investigation confirm the ISU’s confidence?

braden lindstrom
saint george, utah

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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