A scandal of Olympic proportions?

Tariq Engineer

Here is the scenario. You have a sport that is subjectively judged, being that is it is judged by people. You have two pairs of contestants vying for the top prize, which in this case is the Olympic gold. The first pair, let’s call them Pair A, makes a significant error during the performance of their routine. The second pair, let’s call them Pair B, performs their routine flawlessly. The scores are awarded, and to the general surprise of everyone, Pair A walks away with the gold. Now the country to which Pair B belongs immediately cries fowl and lodges a protest. The protest turns into scandal when rumors of undue pressure being placed on one of the judges begin to circulate. Meanwhile Pair A and Pair B wait with baited breath as events unfold.

The saga carries on for a week before a resolution is reached. The solution: Pair B is awarded their own gold medal.

Huh?! I’m sorry, but can someone run that by me again? Both pairs were awarded gold medals!! How exactly is that a solution? Wasn’t the initial protest made because of an injustice, the wrong pair winning gold?

A better solution for The International Skating Union would have been one of the following two choices. The first would have been to stick with the original results, as ice-skating is a subjective discipline. Allowing the authority of an individual’s subjectivity to be challenged only casts doubts over that individual’s ability to be a judge and the sport’s credibility. Not only that, but it creates a precedent for every time someone disagrees with the judge’s verdict.

In the event of there being evidence of wrongdoing, the second option would have been to redo the competition. This might give Pair A the chance to make amends for their earlier mistake but still remains a better alternative to awarding both pairs the gold as it preserves the notion of fair competition.

Awarding both pairs gold medals might have left the participants happy, but at the same time it has raised serious doubt about the credibility of ice skating competitions.