(Olympics) Gymnastics, fencing, figure skating and short track: S. Korea's history of Olympic controversy
By Yoo Jee-ho
BEIJING, Feb. 8 (Yonhap) -- It is perhaps the last thing South Korea wanted to do at Beijing 2022, but for the first time in 18 years, the country is taking its complaint of Olympic officiating to the top global sports tribunal.
The Korean Sport & Olympic Committee (KSOC) said Tuesday it plans to lodge a formal appeal of short track speed skating refereeing with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), with further details on the procedure to be released later in the day.
The KSOC is highlighting what it, not to mention many aggrieved South Korean fans, felt were egregious calls against two of its short trackers from Monday's races in Beijing.
In the men's 1,000m semifinals, Hwang Dae-heon and Lee June-seo each got disqualified from their respective heats for illegal passing and lane change. Those decisions each allowed Chinese skaters to advance to the final and the host country ending up collecting gold and silver medals.
South Korea has been part of its share of high-profile officiating controversies.
At the 2004 Athens Games, male gymnast Yang Tae-young settled for bronze in the individual all-around, finishing 0.049 point behind the champion, Paul Hamm of the United States. However, the judges mistakenly deducted one-tenth of a point from Yang's start value of 10 in the parallel bars component, which meant the Korean would have defeated Hamm for the gold with proper officiating.
The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) admitted the mishap but the CAS rejected Yang's appeal because the protest took place after the end of the competition and the appeal was submitted too late. The CAS added it couldn't overturn the results based on an acknowledged error.
It was also the last time South Korea had appealed an Olympic ruling with the CAS.
The country dealt with other questionable decisions at later Olympics, though it ultimately decided not to take matters to the CAS.
At London 2012, epee fencer Shin A-lam lost to Britta Heidemann of Germany in the semifinals due to a timekeeping error. The clock remained at one second after multiple touches between the two fencers, and only ran out after Heidemann lunged for the decisive, sudden-death point in extra time.
The International Fencing Federation rejected South Korea's appeal because it could not "change a question of fact." South Korea decided against filing an appeal with the CAS because the tribunal wouldn't review a case unless it involved blatantly illegal officiating.
South Korea went up in arms again at Sochi 2014, where its reigning Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu-na finished second to Adelina Sotnikova of Russia in the women's singles. Sotnikova beat Kim 224.59 points to 219.11 points despite making a noticeable mistake on one of her jumps during the free skate while Kim skated a clean program.
South Korea filed a complaint with the International Skating Union (ISU) in April that year, about two months after the competition, but the ISU rejected the appeal in June.
South Korea had three weeks after the rejection in which to take the case to the CAS but decided against it.
South Korea likely faces an uphill battle in the current short track cases since it may have to dispute the composition of the judging panel or prove an incorrect application of rules.
The ISU already rejected a South Korean protest over Hwang's penalty on Tuesday, on the grounds that disqualification for rule violations cannot be challenged.
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