Ashley Wagner of the United States competes during the Team Ladies Short Program at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, February 8, 2014.
The Web site of Change.org almost crashed briefly on Friday morning because of the very large number of signatories to an online petition for organisers of the Sochi Winter Games to overturn a controversial decision in figure skating.
About 1.5 million people inked the petition to strip Russian athlete Adelina Sotnikova of her gold medal and award it to Yuna Kim of South Korea.
In about six hours, the petition titled Open Investigation into Judging Decisions of Women's Figure Skating and Demand Rejudgment at the Sochi Olympics, initiated by user named Justice Seeker, the petition got more than 700,000 signatures. Change.org said it was five times the previously recorded highest rate in the portal.
About 90 per cent of the signatories came from Kim's country of South Korea. The petitioners blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin and alleged biased judging at the winter games.
Sotnikova scored Russia's first women's single gold medal and scored 5.48 points than the 23-year-old silver medalist from South Korea. They believe that Kim delivered a flawless performance, but because one of the nine members of the judges panel is Alla Shekhovtseva, the wife of Russian Skating Federation President and General Director Valentin Piseev, they think she favoured her compatriot, although a shot of the score sheet which showed 10 scores of 3 out of 12 did not indicate if those scores were made by Shekhovtseva.
However, in an analysis for the New York Times of the comparative performance of the two skaters, U.S. Figure Skating coach and national technical specialist sided with the Russian skater over Kim based on Sotnikova's better performance.
He cited the higher base value given to Adelina's double-triple combination, considered the most difficult double jump and received higher marks for good flow, height and distance, plus she added 10 per cent bonus for performing the combination in the second half of the programme.
In contrast, the double jump by Kim is considered one of the easiest and has a low base value.
Was it a case of a Russian judge favouring her countryman or a case of nationalism gone wrong the sour grape way?