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Olympic Sports With Judges Plagued by Controversy

Should Sports With Judges Be Allowed in the Olympics?

It was nail-biting watching the men's figure skating competition this year. In the end, Evan Lysacek took home the gold — a decision that wasn't without controversy. Many argue that at its core, figure skating is not a sport, in part because the winner is determined by a group of judges. Often, the judges disagree and it's questionable how impartial they can really be — remember the huge judging scandal that plagued the 2002 Winter games? Try as they may to revamp the scoring system, there is always controversy: some felt that Evgeni Plushenko should have skated away with gold, while others said Johnny Weir was cheated out of a better standing.

Some say that the only way to have a fair Olympics is to get rid of any sport that relies on judges, turning them into demonstration sports instead. That way, medal standings are determined solely by an athlete's performance: who crosses the finish line first and which team scores the most points. No one doubted the gold medal victories achieved by Lindsey Vonn, Hannah Kearney, or Bode Miller — it was clear as day that each of them finished first.

What do you think . . .

Image Source: Getty
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lilkimbo lilkimbo 5 years
Jkat, I mostly agree with you. While I do think that figure skating, etc. are sports and should be included in the Olympics, I personally prefer to watch sports that only have referees, etc. as opposed to judges giving a score. Generally, I actually like sports where all of the competitors are participating at the same time, like snowboard cross/ski cross or short track speed skating. There's just something about seeing everyone going head-to-head for a medal!
lukeeller lukeeller 5 years
Other Olympic sports have judges too: football, tennis, water polo, etc. One could always argue there's a degree of subjectiveness to the decisions made by officials in these sports, and yet their validity as Olympic events is not questioned.
Soniabonya Soniabonya 5 years
Rebelkate, I completely agree with you about Weir. Both programs he skated astounding performances, not even falling once. And the guy that fell gets a medal while Weird is stuck in 6th? The judges were extremely biased. I do think figure skating is a sport, as it requires much strength and training for it, but it's a slippery slope where judges are concerned.
rebelkate rebelkate 5 years
I voted yes but definitely think that (especially in figure skating) the judges have preconceived notions of skaters. Johnny Weir was totally robbed this Olympics, should have gotten the bronze medal without question.
jkat jkat 5 years
Refs and officials are completely different that judges who completely hold the entire outcome of the event in their hands. Refs have far less influence than that, particularly with the use of instant replay. I don't enjoy judging sports for competition. I appreciate the skill, athleticism and dedication of the participants, but I just can't get behind a sport where someone is picking a winner. As a casual observer, it is extremely rare for me to see one athlete who is clearly so much better that my untrained eye can distinguish him or her as the clear winner (I am thinking Shaun White). Usually I just can't tell the difference (unless someone bites it). I enjoy the entertainment aspects, but to me it is all sort of the same. Without the thrill of a race or a score, I am just not that into those sports.
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