The 2002 Winter Olympics have been the site for more than athletic prowess this year. Instead, the games have provided an international stage for cries of foul play and scandal. With several landmark decisions by the Olympic committee, the games have been changed from healthy competition to placating whiners. This is a bad precedent being set by the Olympics, and future games should be prepared to deal with similar controversies, such as judging scandals and supposed favoritism.
In several scandals at this year’s Olympic games, charges of biased judging have been made. The most popular accusations include the awarding of gold medals to the Canadian pairs figure skaters and the awarding of a gold medal to 16-year-old American figure skater Sarah Hughes. While these incidents were certainly separate and non-related, the issues that surround them are similar in that they both involved figure skating and the Russians.
Russia feels it has been biased against in the games and insists Irina Slutskaya, who won silver in women’s figure skating, should have won the gold. While that is up for debate, it is reasonable to see why they feel justified in their challenge.
Canada challenged the pairs skating event in which Russia took the gold, but after charges of corrupt judging, Canadian skaters David Pelletier and Jamie Sale also received gold medals.
This case set a bad precedent that says the traditional luck and talent needed at the games isn’t enough – each country should be sure to pack a lawyer to contest each ruling and whine enough until they get what they think their athletes should have won.
Judging should be fair, but countries and athletes should also understand they cannot all win. Otherwise, why not just hand out gold medals to each athlete and skip the games altogether? That way everyone goes home happy whether they deserve to or not.