2022 Olympics: Judging Controversies

A moment in the mens 1000m semifinals

A moment in the men’s 1000m semifinals kr.theepochtimes.com

Junhyoung (Edward) Kim, Staff Writer

Aside from the political and inner problems within the Olympics, its judging and standards have been a hot topic, especially in events such as short track and ski jump. 

Short Track Judging Controversies

Competitive spirit may be important for many athletes, but short tracker Kexin Fan was filmed tossing a marker that led to Alyson Charles, her Canadian opponent, falling during the women’s 500-meter quarterfinal. Fan was not penalized. This gif went viral, and some netizens even stated that Fan was playing real-life Mario Kart. “This is not the first time Fan was involved in a competition controversy,” wrote NextShark. “In the 2018 Winter Olympics, her team was disqualified from the women’s 3,000-meter team relay final after she blocked a Korean skater.”

Another controversy was sparked during the men’s 1000m final when the podium went down to Hungary’s Shaolin Sandor Liu and China’s Ren Ziwei. In the final turn, as the two athletes were nearing the finish line, the Hungarian athlete fell, which is when the review came into play. The Chinese athlete ended up taking the gold medal. In fact, the Hungarian received two penalties for a lane change and another for a one-hand push. On the other hand, Ren Ziwei did not receive any penalties despite the fact he used both his arms to shove and push his opponent.

More issues sparked during the mixed relay semifinals. For context, the US was disqualified in the end for violating a rule, but the issue was once again regarding the Chinese. The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) was disqualified because it intercepted the Chinese skaters from their relay exchange. A push or a touch is considered a relay exchange but in this relay, the Chinese skaters made no contact. While mis-taps are also causes of disqualification, the Chinese team was allowed to advance to the next round. Netizens were still confused by the decision and named this the “bluetooth relay touch,” as there was no contact but the relay still continued. 

Additionally, an appeal was made by the Koreans when two Korean skaters were penalized for an “illegal late pass causing contact.” This caused both of the Koreans to get disqualified and two Chinese skaters to advance to the finals, where they both won gold and silver. The Hungarian also filed an appeal but the appeals from both Korea and Hungary were rejected. As the games go on, many members of the public are starting believe that there may be benefits for the host country’s athletes.

Ski Jump Uniform Penalty

Last Monday, judging and the IOC once again confused the public when five individuals were disqualified from the final event. Sara Takanashi (Japan), Daniela Iraschko-Stolz (Austria), Katharina Althaus (Germany), and Anna Odine Stroem and Silje Opseth (Norway) were not allowed to compete because of their uniforms. According to NPR, the jumpsuits were “reportedly too large, potentially giving them an unfair advantage as they soared through the air.”

It was unfortunate because some of these five were aiming for the podium. As they had no problem with their suits in the past, the regulations seemed to disqualify certain athletes unexpectedly. 


Last Thursday, the crowd was anticipating Ayumu Hirano (Japan) to be awarded gold in the men’s snowboard half-pipe. After all, he was the first person in the Olympic Games to land a triple cork (three flips performed in rotation while grabbing the board) during his second run. Some commentators called it the best run they have seen. 

However, Hirano was awarded a score, according to the NY Times, “a hair behind the one given to Scotty James of Australia, who sat in first place with a score of 92.50.” Especially in sports where performance is judged, judges are the ones making decisions for the athletes. Thus, this results in a bit of controversy. Interestingly, this has not been the only controversy in snowboarding as, in the past, when athletes grabbed their knee instead of their board, the point was still awarded. 


Mainly, the spotlight also shined at Kamila Valieva as the IOC decided to let her return to the ice. With her doping allegations, many competitors have expressed their discomfort.

Unfortunately, despite the harsh conditions, athletes are still persevering to wrap up the games until the 20th. With new stars being born and legends retiring, it will be an interesting week to see who can take the gold.