I call upon you in a time of need. The Queen has been defeated and many are crying 'foul'. Time and time again, you have guided us, your loyal readers, through the fog of media bias to the facts that help us make sense in these trying times. In your infinite wisdom, do you see a home field advantage, or was the Queen being too conservative in her fight towards the gold?
Put it this way: one has to believe in some really implausible series of events to believe that Adelina Sotnikova won her gold medal fair and square. Out of the many articles that covered women's figure skating in Sochi, The Wire's coverage was the most definitive. There are many, many factors to which the article points, but three factors stand out the most.
- Sotnikova's previous personal best in free-skating was nearly 20 points below her Olympics score. That personal best was set only a month before the Olympics.
- Sotnikova's Olympics free-skating score was so high that, had she not made a mistake in one of her jumps, it would have set the world record (which Yuna Kim set in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.) This does not pass the "laugh test." Even if one completely ignored Sotnikova's flub, her program was not superior to Kim's program in Vancouver.
- It has been said that Sotnikova performed a more technically difficult routine than Kim, because Sotnikova executed one additional triple jump. But Mao Asada, 2010 silver medalist, executed one more triple jump than Sotnikova and was flawless in her free skate. Yet Mao scored lower than Sotnikova.
So, in order for one to believe that Sotnikova won her gold medal fair and square, you have to believe: (1) Sotnikova managed to improve by nearly 20 points in a month; (2) Sotnikova's performance, but for the mistaken landing, would have been the best free skating in the history of women's figure skating; (3) Sotnikova beat Kim because she did more jumps than Kim, and Sotnikova beat Mao because she presented better artistry than Mao. One can believe all of the above, sure. One can also believe that Barry Bonds's head size doubled because Bonds just worked out a lot, or the Hand of God mysteriously appeared above Diego Maradona's head in the 1986 World Cup.
But enough of this. As Yuna Kim retires after this Olympics, the Korean would rather honor and celebrate her remarkable career. Because Kim is so unusually graceful in her performance, the words "utter dominance" do not naturally come to mind when one thinks of Yuna Kim. But wrap your head around this one: in her 12-year skating career, Yuna Kim never fell below third place in any of the competition she entered. That means that Kim medaled in every single game that she ever entered since she was 12 years old. And those games include six world championships and two Olympics.
Never in the century of women's figure skating history was there an achievement like this one. This puts Yuna Kim on the same plane as the greatest winners in sports, right up there with the likes of Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, and so on. And we were all simply lucky to have witnessed such an incredible dominance, presented in the most beautiful form imaginable.
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