‘Queen Yuna’ loss provokes outrage and claims of bias amongst millions of passionate South Korean figure skating fans

 

Angry South Koreans have hit out at biased judging at the Sochi Games after their top skater Kim Yuna was denied back-to-back Olympic golds by Russia’s Adelina Sotnikova. The decision provoked outrage in South Korea, and on Friday a record 1.5 million people signed an online petition demanding an inquiry into the defeat, causing the petition website to crash.

In her final Winter Olympics, 23-year-old Kim was beaten by 5.48 points by Sotnikova, who secured Russia’s first ladies singles gold, despite a flawless performance from South Korea’s most loved and best-known athlete.

Many South Koreans stayed up until the early hours of yesterday expecting to see “Queen Yuna” join Germany’s Katerina Witt and Norway’s Sonja Henie as the only women to win successive Olympic figure skating golds. Instead they were left shocked and angry.

Mainstream newspaper Dong-a Ilbo angrily claimed that the judging, which has been questioned by other athletes in Sochi, was “the home turf score plus [Vladimir] Putin’s score”, referring to the Russian President, who has taken a close personal interest in the Games.

Kim has battled injury to sustain her career and had a long-term duel with Japan’s Mao Asada that saw her win gold in Vancouver four years ago. Many South Koreans said they believed the outcome would have been different had their country been larger and more powerful.

“Why did you invite all of us if you were going to have Putin’s little sports meeting?” Bae Sung-jae, a commentator for broadcaster SBS, wrote on Twitter. The anger at Russia was matched by sympathy for Kim as South Korean television showed endless reruns of her performance on Sochi’s ice through Friday morning along with footage of her rise to fame from her initial steps on ice as a young girl.

Despite the loss in Sochi, the phrase “Thank you, Yuna” topped the most searched keyword on the nation’s biggest internet portals Naver and Daum throughout yesterday morning. The skater thanked her fans after her loss. “What mattered was that I was here to compete,” she said.

After 17 years as a skater that saw her rise from a six-year-old who dabbled in figure skating for fun to become Olympic and world champion, Kim is now preparing to hang up her skates. Although she has not announced any specific plans, she has said she will not leave the sport completely.

News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Extras
indybest
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?