With Canada’s latest speed skating disappointment being blamed on its alleged poor-sport Polish opponents, here’s a look at the top five controversies (non-Pussy Riot division) of the Sochi Games:
With the Russia-U.S. men’s hockey game tied 2-2, defenceman Fedor Tyutin blasted a shot into the top corner to send the home crowd into delirium. But sliding U.S. goalie Jonathan Quick had knocked a goalpost slightly off its peg seconds earlier, and upon review the goal was disallowed. The Americans won in an unforgettable shootout and Russian fans cried conspiracy because the referee, who made the correct call, is American. Russian blue-liner Slava Voynov said Quick — his L.A. Kings teammate, no less — knocked the post off intentionally.
SKATING SCANDAL - PART 1
When Russian figure skater Adelina Sotnikova won the women’s figure skating gold, fans worldwide erupted in anger. Yuna Kim, the South Korean darling and defendng Olympic champ, settled for silver — but within hours, an online petition had more than one million signatures demanding an inquiry into the scoring. The fact one Russian skating official’s wife was a judge probably doesn’t help the ol’ optics.
SKATING SCANDAL - PART 2
Early in these Games, a respected French publication, L’Equipe, cited an unnamed source in reporting the Russians and Americans had a quid-pro-quo in the works: If the American judges prop up the Russians in the team event, the Russians would do the same in ice dancing. Ho-hum, another day, another scandal — that was essentially the reaction of Canadian stars Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue, who finished with silver behind U.S. ice-dance rivals Charlie White and Meryl Davis. For many observers, though, it was clear a fix was in. (Russia’s team-skating gold appeared to be won on merit, though.)
WIN? OR LUGE?
Of all the conflicts, this one might warrant the most attention, but received the least: After finishing fourth in the men’s luge relay, Canadian coach Wolfgang Staudinger accused Russian officials of raising the temperatures of pipes inside the track after their athletes went, thus slowing down those who, like Canada, followed. Russia got the silver, and Canada got the shaft, Staudinger said.
GIVING IT AWAY
The Canadian speed skating team ended a disappointing Sochi Games by losing the bronze-medal race in the men’s team pursuit to Poland. The skaters and their coach say Poland’s athletes didn’t give it their all in a semifinal race against the Dutch 24 hours earlier, planning instead to save something for the bronze-medal battle. “I think you’re here, you show up, you give it all you can,” said coach Bart Schouten.