Awhile back I was hanging out with some friends and for whatever reason the subject turned to figure skating. I know very, very little about figure skating. I find it pleasant enough to watch, but have no idea how the scoring works, no idea what factors contribute to a good performance, and don’t even really know what the organizing bodies are. According to these friends, who are Japanese, recent figure skating rules changes were made to stymie Asian figure skaters. The claim as best I can recall went something like this:
Mao Asada favors a particular rotation in her jumps. I don’t recall if it is clockwise or counterclockwise. The scoring was changed to arbitrarily favor the other direction of rotation.
Figure skaters used to be given two minutes from the time they were called to when they had to appear on the ice. Most don’t use the full two minutes, but a prominent Japanese male figure skater whose name I can’t recall at the moment used the full time to get ready. The time allotment was reduced, hurting his performance.
These rule changes were motivated by anti-Asian racism.
For the record, I am not endorsing this claim, I’m just reproducing it as best I can recall.
My inclination is to dismiss this accusation of racism, it seems awfully flimsy to me, but upon reflection I don’t have anywhere near enough information to make an informed judgement. And since several people all seemed to know about the situation and have similar views, it’s probably not a wildly fringe opinion. So, someone who actually has some knowledge of what’s going on here could you please help me out here. Is there any merit to this claim?