Since the minute Adelina Sotnikova won her Olympic figure skating gold medal last week, a growing chorus of people, including skating legends like Kurt Browning and Katarina Witt, have questioned Sotnikova's scores and alleged that her historic win was due to Russian rigging. What isn't going to help Sotnikova's gold-medal legacy are the new images of her hugging one of the people responsible for her score, an analysis at how her fellow Russian Julia Lipnitskaya was generously scored, and the questions about whether mistakes on her jumps were overlooked.
Last week, we touched upon why people thought Sotnikova's win was fixed: 1) she made a visible mistake where the other two gold-medal contenders did not; 2) a judge married to the director of the Russian Figure Skating Federation was in charge of scoring her program; and 3) the Olympics had been very generous to other Russian skaters. More than 2 million people signed an unofficial online petition for the International Skating Union to investigate the results.
Now, a new set of uncomfortable facts and allegations has cropped up over the weekend. Here's a guide:
Sotnikova Was Hugging One of Her Judges
One image making the viral rounds this weekend was reportedly of a judge named Alla Shekhovtseva — the wife of Valentin Piseev, the longtime president and general director of the Russian Skating Federation — hugging Sotnikova after the competition:
The lady with the blue scarf congratulating Sotnikova is reportedly another judge:
This, of course, isn't proof of cheating. But it doesn't look good for the sport. It'd be akin to a college basketball referee hugging a player after a game-winning free throw that the referee called.