The Sochi Network

Sochi Summary Day 14: ‘Judging is home turf score plus Putin’s score’

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Was The Figure Skating Fixed?

Robin Cousins called victory for reigning world and Olympic champion Yuna Kim before her free routine had even finished.

Katarina Witt thought the Korean had won gold and the audible gasp from the crowd when Kim came second was instructive.

Victory went to Russia's Adelina Sotnikova whose technical score of 75.54 dwarfed Kim's technical total of 69.69 and many other experts were unconvinced.

Kurt Browning, a four-time world champion, told The New York Times: "I just couldn't see how Yuna and Sotnikova were so close in the components. I was shocked.

"What, suddenly, she just became a better skater overnight? I don't know what happened. I'm still trying to figure it out."

Critics have created a petition at change.org urging that the judging be investigated. Currently it stands at 1.7 million supporters.

Korean newspaper Dong-a Ilbo thundered that the judging, which has been questioned by other athletes in Sochi, was "the home turf score plus Putin's score."

It didn't help that one of the judges had been suspended for a year for trying to fix an event in Nagano or that another is married to the head of the Russian figure skating federation.

American Ashley Wagner, who finished seventh, said: "This sport needs to be held more accountable if it wants more people to believe in it."

GOOD DAY

Ukraine - Sergey Bubka said that the athletes who are representing Ukraine in Sochi are promoting the mission to unite their nation at a troubled time in their history. Vita and Valja Semerenko, Julia Dzhyma and Olena Pidhrushna certainly raised the spirits of their compatriots back home with Biathlon relay gold.

It was their first Winter Olympics gold in 20 years and came a day after two members of the Olympic team pulled out of the Games in support of demonstrators back home after widespread anti-government protests left dozens dead and hundreds injured. Pidhrushna asked the audience at a news conference to respect a minute's silence in memory of those people.

[BLOG: FINALLY A GOOD DAY FOR UKRAINE THANKS TO BIATHLETES, KLITSCHKO]

Victor An - He kissed the ice and paraded the Russian flag after winning gold for his adopted country in the 1000m short track speed skating and he was doing it again...not once, but twice.

Despite a terrible start, An stayed calm in the 500m final and watched Wenhao Liang fall in front of him before making a decisive move on the inside to take. Less than an hour later he collected his third gold of these Games and his sixth all-time as he led the relay team over the line.

The skater formerly known as Ahn Hyun-soo is the first athlete to win gold in ALL four events in short track. He took on Russian citizenship two years ago when he fell out with the South Korean speed skating federation after failing to win a spot for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

Mikaela Shiffrin - The American teenager became the youngest Olympic slalom champion after winning the final women's race of the Alpine programme. At 18 years and 345 days, she added the Olympic title to her world title in the discipline, producing a fantastic recovery on the second run to maintain her advantage from the first stanza.

She sported a transfer of the 'Stars and Stripes' on her neck, explaining that it was "just in case everybody can't tell I'm American." Shiffrin has replaced the absent Lindsey Vonn as the smiling face of US women's skiing.

BAD DAY

Doping - Germany's two-time Olympic cross-country skiing champion Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle and Italian four-man bobsleigh member William Frullani were thrown out of the Games after testing positive for drugs. Sachenbacher-Stehle, who was competing in the biathlon in Sochi but did not win a medal, tested positive for the stimulant methylhexanamin with the second sample tested today.

Frullani, a police officer by profession, was dropped from the team due to compete on the final two days after testing positive for the substance dymetylpentylamine, and left the village. The substance, identified as a stimulant in the World Anti-Doping Agency code, can be found in nasal decongestants.

Franziska Preuss - The 19-year-old was the replacement for Sachenbacher-Stehle in the women's relay and had a total disaster. Preuss was on the opening leg and after 600 meters she fell at the first corner. In doing so she broke a ski pole and damaged her rifle. Preuss had to clean the gun as she had snow in the barrel - the obviously flustered teenager then missed three shots in the prone position and lost even more time as she used the spare rounds.

She handed over, 2:57 down in 16th and last place, and Germany could only finish 11th as they finished out of the medals in a women's relay for the first-time ever.

Elise Christie - Things run in threes they say, they certainly do for the British short-track skater. The Scot was in the shake-up for medals in all three individual events but was disqualified in all three. She finished second in the 500m final but was DQ'd for wiping out Arianna Fontana. In the 1500m, the Nottingham-based skater darted through the inside to win her heat but was inside the track by about 5cm on the final straight so did not technically finish the race.

The 1000m is her favourite distance and she looked destined to be advanced to the final after being wiped out, whilst in second place, by Jianrou Li. But in the most debatable of all three judgements the referee decided that Christie had impeded the Chinese before that incident.

BRITS IN ACTION

Canada crushed Britain 9-3 to win the men's curling title. With the match realistically out of reach after a series of mistakes, British skip David Murdoch conceded after the eighth of the 10 ends. The contest was effectively over in the fourth end when Murdoch had a straightforward shot for a two but overcooked it and instead, after a measurement, the Canadians took a point so instead of trailing 5-3, it was 6-1.

In Short Track, Elise Christie was disqualified from the 1000m semi-finals and Jon Eley went out of the 500m in the semis. He was ranked seventh after the B final.

GOLD MEDALS AWARDED TODAY

Freestyle Skiing - Ladies' Ski Cross: Marielle Thompson (Canada)
Curling - Men's: Canada
Biathlon - Women's 4x6km Relay: Ukraine
Alpine Skiing - Ladies' Slalom: Mikaela Shiffrin (USA)
Short Track - Men's 500m: Victor An (Russia)
Short Track - Ladies' 1000m: Seung-Hi Park (South Korea)
Short Track - Men's 5000m Relay: Russia

IMAGE OF THE DAY

Mikaela Shiffrin en-route to gold under the floodlights.

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TWEET OF THE DAY

DON'T MISS TOMORROW

Alexander Zubkov begins his bid for the bobsleigh double in the four-man event. British pilot John Jackson won World Cup silver in Lake Placid in December.

BIG NAMES IN ACTION

Marcel Hirscher, Felix Neureuther and Alexis Pinturault are tipped to contest the medals in the men's slalom.

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen is now the most decorated Winter Olympian in history and the Norwegian legend makes his final Games appearance in the men's relay, aiming for medal number 14.

The Netherlands look to round out their amazing Games at the Adler Arena with Ireen Wust and Sven Kramer leading their Speed Skating pursuit teams.

YOU HAVEN'T HEARD OF THEM BUT YOU SHOULD HAVE

Henrik Kristoffersen - The Norwegian teenager was not really in contention in his first event in Sochi, finishing 11th in the Giant Slalom but the slalom is his speciality and he won a maiden World Cup race in Schladming last month.

GOLD MEDALS ON OFFER

09:30: Cross Country - Ladies' 30km Mass Start Free
10:46: Snowboarding - Ladies' Parallel Slalom Finals
10:50: Snowboarding - Men's Parallel Slalom Finals
14:30: Biathlon - Men's 4x7.5km Relay
14:59: Speed Skating - Men's Team Pursuit
15:21: Speed Skating - Ladies' Team Pursuit
16:15: Alpine Skiing - Men's Slalom

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