Mention the Winter Olympics or figure skating to any South Korean this week and they’ll likely respond with a scowl or a shake of the head. After an almost completely flawless performance at Sochi, 23-year-old figure skater and darling of South Korea Yuna Kim looked sure to claim the gold, but when the judges presented their scores for her performance, which came to a total of 219.11, the stadium erupted with cheers from Russian spectators who knew that the top medal would instead go to their own Adelina Sotnikova, who scored just five points more.
But the official scores don’t seem to matter much in Yuna Kim’s native South Korea, since one broadcaster pretty much just awarded her a gold medal anyway.
It didn’t take long for Twitter and internet message boards to light up with angry messages after the panel awarded the Russian skater gold at Sochi, and barely two hours after the event hundreds of thousands of people had already signed a petition on Change.org calling for the judges to be investigated, claiming foul play and asserting that the Korean skater clearly deserved the win.
Regardless, Sotnikova took the top prize, and after she announced her retirement from the competition, South Koreans’ hearts sank even lower as they realised that Yuna Kim would never again have a shot at Olympic gold.
But during a live broadcast of the closing ceremonies at Sochi, South Korean TV station KBS1TV made a powerful statement regarding Yuna Kim’s status and performance at the Games.
As the music played and spectators applauded, a number of graphics reporting overall scores and information about medal rankings were displayed on screen for Korean viewers to take in. But when it came to much-loved figure skater “Queen” Yuna Kim, the information the broadcaster decided to display was rather surprising:
▼ “Yuna Kim (in truth a gold medalist)”
Take that, Sochi judges!
Some Japanese netizens were quick to condemn the Korean Broadcaster for the move, and suggested that the South Koreans are simply suffering from a severe case of sour grapes, but others were impressed by the broadcaster’s gall and found the subtitle highly amusing. Yuna Kim herself, meanwhile, has acted with incredible dignity following the competition and has barely commented on the controversial result, instead focusing on her own performance saying: “I’ve repeatedly said that I have no regrets. I’m satisfied with the fact that it’s over and that I performed well on the ice.”
As a Brit who spent last Wednesday afternoon watching the Canadian curling team slaughter Team GB in the men’s final, I can’t help feeling the BBC missed a trick here, and should have rewritten sporting history in their own on-screen graphics when they broadcast the closing ceremonies.
Hell, I’ll do it myself.
Well done, chaps.