ice dancing results spark controversy

If you didn’t hear about the Olympics Ice Dancing controversy, then you must live under a rock (or, perhaps, you just have better things to do with your time, like brushing your teeth or reading a book or taking a dog for a walk). 

Long story short: a French magazine released details that said a deal had taken place between Russia and the U.S. that predetermined the results of the team figure skating events. This magazine predicted the U.S. would win individual scores in the Ice Dancing category, but Russia would win overall. The plan, apparently, was to prevent Canada from snagging the gold medal in the team event. 

Naturally, I took this a bit personally, but upon doing a bit of research (a quick Google search), I quickly understood that this was not a new thing. Figure skating, reportedly, is one of the most rigged sports out there. A little surprising once you remember that it’s a sport that involves a lot of glitter and nude leotards. 

Not caring so much about the fate of the team skating events, I let this information go. At least for a few days, anyway.

I’m not competitive about much, or anything really.  Except Ice Dancing, apparently. 

I have nothing against U.S. ice dancers Meryl and Charlie,  I promise, I don’t. But I don’t love them to the same degree I love the Canadian dancers Tessa and Scott. Next time you’re in Canada, check the local TV guide for some reruns of their reality show, and then you, too, will love them. 

When they lost to the U.S., I was pretty sad. Sure, they won the gold medal at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, but I wanted them to win again. I’m a competitive and greedy Ice Dancing watcher, apparently.

I was vocalizing my sadness to approximately 200 Twitter followers when I saw the Twitter trending topics. ‘Tessa and Scott’ was at the top and people were not pleased. Even beyond that, petitions were being signed. People thought the Ice Dancing event was rigged and they wanted an official investigation launched. 

And even as a loyal fan, I couldn’t help but think the whole thing seemed a bit intense. 

So, I decided to do a bit of investigative journalism. (I headed back to Google.)

It turns out, the move Tessa and Scott lost the majority of points on was the finnstep, invented by Finnish ice dancer Petri Kokko and his wife, Susanna Rahkamo. According to a series of tweets, Kokko thought the “[American’s] timing [was] off in the #finnstep and restrained even otherwise.” 

He followed that tweet up with “I don’t understand the judging in #icedancing. Virtue/Moir should be leading in my honest opinion.”

Quite the scandal if the creator of the finnstep found the Canadians’ finnstep to be perfect, yet the judges did not, no?

But whatever, I moved on.

Then I found the blog of journalist Beverley Smith who was the lead reporter who uncovered the judging scandal at the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002.  

Her blog post, titled “Something Rotten in the State of Sochi,” immediately caught my attention. She suspected something was up. She provided evidence. She predicted that in the long dance the next day, the Americans would win. She was right and they did, and the whole thing made me incredibly sad. Not because Tessa and Scott may or may not have lost out on a gold medal, but because Meryl and Charlie did win a gold medal, and if you do something as great as that, you shouldn’t have to hear it questioned. 

It pains me to say this, but what if the 2010 Olympics had been rigged, too? What about the ’06 Olympics? Heck, should we launch an investigation of all the figure skating medal winners at every Olympics ever? 

We’ll probably never know the truth, but what I do know is this: the Olympics figure skating judging committee (or whatever these people may be called) should fix their sport. And when I say fix, I don’t mean cheat, I mean really fix it, so that its winners may celebrate with pride and without question.

My roommate, while denying the existence of conspiracy theories, once said, “People can barely keep a surprise party a secret, and that’s only like 50 people who know. How could something huge be kept a secret?”

And I like to believe that’s true.

For the sake of Meryl and Charlie’s gold medals, I’d like to continue to believe it’s true. Though secrets have (for the most part) been kept, whispers have still been heard and these whispers shouldn’t have enough power to negate the work that the Olympians put in the years leading up to the medal ceremonies. 


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