Simon Cho’s Sabotage and Other Skating Scandals and Controversies

Yahoo Contributor Network

Not long after allegations of abuse in the United States speed skating national program began to come to light, another scandal is making headlines. On Friday, October 5, 2012, Simon Cho admitted that he had sabotaged a Canadian competitor's skates during the 2010 Olympic Games. He claims that his coach, Chun Jae-su, the same coach who is accused of the abuse, was the one who ordered the sabotage. The matter is still being investigated and there is no indication of what the punishment would be or if there would be any recourse for the Canadian skater. This is not the first time that a scandal involving skating has made headlines. Here is a look at five of the top skating scandals and controversies.

Nancy Kerrigan and Tanya Harding

No list about skating scandals would be complete without a nod to one of the most dramatic moments in figure skating. In early 1994, figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was hit on the knee with a baton, which left her unable to compete for a spot on the 1994 Olympic team with Tanya Harding. It was widely thought that Harding played a role in the attack, but at that point, it was merely speculation. Kerrigan won a silver medal and Harding finished outside of medal contention. Harding would later plead guilty to relatively minor charges related to the attack and be banned for life from U.S. Figure Skating Association events as both a competitor and coach.

2002 Judging Scandal

In one of the biggest judging scandals in figuring skating history, which led to arrests and bans, judges from France were accused of working with Russian mafia officials so that the Russians would win the pairs figure skating competition and the French would win the ice dancing competition. There have often been times where judges have made controversial decisions, but never was it such a clear cut case of favoritism. After the medal ceremony for the pairs figure skating competition and a review of the performances, the Canadians were awarded a gold medal, the Russians were allowed to keep theirs and no silver medal was given. This scandal led to an overhaul of the way that figure skating is judged, the arrest of the involved mafia members and bans for the judges.

Tara Lipinski's Age

When Tara Lipinski was just 15 years old, she won a gold medal at the 1998 Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan. Her win led to a rules change that required that competitors must have turned 15 before July 1 of the year before the Olympic Games. This would have made Lipinski ineligible. The official reason for changing the rules was to prevent injuries in young competitors.

Katarina Witt's Costume

At the 1988 Winter Olympics, Katarina Witt's costume raised eyebrows and changed the rules for ladies figure skating. She wore a top and feathers but not a skirt. The feathers were short and were placed on her hips. Shortly after, the rules were changed to require a more modest skirt. In 2004, this rule was rescinded and the female competitors now have a wider variety of costume options.

2002 Cross-Tracking Disqualification

In 2002, at the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States speedskater Apolo Ohno was going for the gold medal when Kim Dong-Sung cut in front of him and took the lead. Dong-Sung won the race but was then disqualified for cross-tracking. Some fans and skaters believe that Ohno may have flailed his arms around to help get the cross-tracking call. With Dong-Sung disqualified, Ohno took the gold medal.

Though Kristin Watt is not a fan of all sports, she does follow the news on most sports religiously. Major news events in sport do tend to ripple out to others and she makes sure that she never misses the big stories.

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