Ashley Wagner slammed Winter Olympics figure skating judges after being pushed down to seventh in the ladies’ individual competition. She fought back tears feeling that two Russian skaters, gold medalist Adelina Sotnikova and fifth-place finisher Julia Lipnitskaia, had been given unfairly inflated scores.
She told Yahoo! ‘I feel gypped.’ She ended up behind Lipnitskaia, who fell in each of her programs; Mao Asada, who fell heavily during a disastrous short program; and fourth-place Gracie Gold, the fellow American who tumbled to the ice on Thursday.
‘People don’t want to watch a sport where you see people fall down and somehow score above someone who goes clean. It is confusing and we need to make it clear for you. To be completely honest, this sport needs fans and needs people who want to watch it.
People do not want to watch a sport where they see someone skate lights out & they can’t depend on that person to be the one who pulls through. People need to be held accountable.’
Wagner’s total of 193.20 was 7.37 points behind that of Lipnitskaia, the Russian sweetheart who won the hearts of the host nation with a pair of performances that helped win gold in the team competition. That was despite Lipnitskaia’s falling heavily on both nights and being visibly dismayed at her performance once she left the rink after her free skate.
‘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, because you can’t depend on this sport to always be there when you need it. The sport in general needs to become more dependable.;
Sotnikova won gold with an incredible score of 149.95 for her long program, 18 points above her previous season’s best. Defending champion Yuna Kim of South Korea took silver, and Carolina Kostner of Italy secured bronze.
‘I am speechless,’ Wagner said, when asked how she felt the competition had transpired and Sotnikova had landed a gold medal that few saw coming. ‘The crowd was very supportive of the Russians, so to be a Russian figure skater must have been absolutely incredible to get out there.. period.
I came into this event knowing pretty well that that was how it was going to go. It is not fair to the skaters who work so hard to become noticed if they are not going to have a sport that backs up what they are doing.’
Wagner vowed to return in four years to have another crack at the Winter Games when they are held in the South Korean city of Pyeongchang. So, too, did Gold and 15-year-old Polina Edmunds, who fell once in her long program but ended up in ninth place.
Gold’s outside chance of claiming a medal effectively evaporated when Kostner and Sotnikova skated so strongly immediately before she took her turn. Gracie: ‘Of course I hoped for a medal, but when that happened, I knew it was gone pretty much and that I was going to be fourth. I am happy with how the Olympics have gone for me. You always want to skate a clean program, but I couldn’t be happier.’