ISU head: Complaint needs evidence
SAITAMA, Japan -- International Skating Union president Ottavio Cinquanta said he hasn't received a formal complaint from South Korea over the judging of the women's figure skating competition at the Sochi Olympics.
Officials at the Korean Olympic Committee and the Korea Skating Union this week said they are preparing a formal complaint about the judging, which resulted in Yuna Kim finishing with the silver medal last month.
"As soon as we receive something official from the Korean Skating Union or the Korean Olympic Committee, we will comment," Cinquanta said Thursday in Japan, where he is attending the World Figure Skating Championships.
South Korean fans were outraged when Yuna Kim was denied a second straight Olympic figure skating gold medal and blamed questionable judging. Kim, the 2010 Olympic champion, finished second behind Russian teenager Adelina Sotnikova. Federation officials responded to the furor during the Sochi Games by defending the scores and the judges.
KSU officials said they are gathering necessary documents and materials. Cinquanta did say any protests would have to be backed up by hard evidence.
"Opinion and criticism is one thing," Cinquanta said. "But when there is criticism based on wrongdoing, it needs to be presented with evidence."
A joint statement by the two Korean organizations last week said the judging was "unreasonable and unfair." The statement said the two organizations want to "formalize unfairness of the judging" and prevent South Korean figure skaters and other athletes from suffering "unfairness" in judging.
Cinquanta again defended the ISU's judging system.
"The judges are experts, they take part in seminars, they know a lot and we have given them a video replay system," Cinquanta said. "We are working very hard to give the skaters the number of points they deserve but we are not perfect and mistakes are possible, just as with the skaters mistakes are possible because we are human beings. But the best human beings we can use are those seated at the events."
In response to a question on whether he sent a letter to ISU staff suggesting such radical changes as dropping the short program of figure skating and eliminating some long track speedskating events at the Olympics, Cinquanta would say only that such proposals have been suggested.
"In regard to the short program, this is part of a wider innovation touching on many aspects of the ISU, not just figure skating," Cinquanta said. "But we are unable now to give a precise response because we have not obtained the advice of the advisory boards yet."
Cinquanta did say that both figure skating and speedskating need to change with the times to keep fans and sponsors happy.
The Dutch energy supplier Essent said it would end its longstanding backing of speedskating after the Sochi Games.
"We are working with the technical committee to be in line with modern expectations," Cinquanta said. "We can't continue with a system used 100 years ago. It is our commitment to deliver the very best of our activity."