What are some famous Olympic judging controversies?

What were some of the classic cold war Olympic judging controversies? I remember the whole 2002 Olympic figure skating scandal, but aside from that, I can’t really remember any. I know there was always talk about them during the Cold War.

Well, I think that some felt that Nancy Kerrigan outskated the winner in the Olympics in 1994.

1972 basketball USA vs. USSR Gold Medal game.

Not a judging controversy per se, and not Winter Olympics related, but the Gold medal basketball game of the 1972 Summer Olympics, between the Americans and the Soviets was very controversial. (Scroll down to “Gold Medal Match Controversy.”

EDIT: Runner Pat beat me to it.

In the 1972 Summer Games, the U.S. and the USSR were playing basketball for the gold. The Americans would have won the game, but the officials kept resetting the clock. The Americans refused to accept their Silver Medals.

EDIT: Looks like I take the Bronze.


Never mind; got beaten again.

Ice Dancing

The 2002 Women’s Ice Hockey Final was an absolute disgrace. The game was between Canada and the United States, and for reasons that will only ever be understood to the IIHF, they assigned an American referee to the game. Canada was given 13 penalties to the American’s 4; this meant that Canada spent over 40% of the game shorthanded, an absurdly large amount. Despite the obvious screw-job, Canada took home the gold in a 3-2 win.

Boxing has been a disgrace for decades.
The skating singles is an understood fix. The top skaters are determined by all the competitions during the year. The lower skaters can not win. When Ito blew the other skaters off the ice it was a joke. The predetermined favorites fell down and still beat her far more difficult flawless performance.
Diving has the same problems. if you have judges, you have nationalism.

Skating is a lot better than it used to be with the new point system. If one has been following the competitions throughout the year, the placings and the scores have a lot more variation depending on what actually happens on the ice. look at the pairs tonight- with a Chinese pair winning who have been out of competition for 2 years, and last years 1-2-3 at the world championships finishing 3-4-5- tonight, with last year’s 4th winning the silver.

The singles this season have been all over the place too. The Korean Yu-Na Kim will probably win- but she has been consistently good all season. But Mao Asada has a shot- she was world champ in 08, but 4th last year. This year she was 2nd and 5th in her Grand prix events, and won 4 Continents ( admittedly in a weak field). What would be her pre-determined spot at this year’s Olympics?

Even Ice Dance is not really an open and shut case this year, with 2 strong Russian teams, 2 strong American teams, an excellent Canadian team and a returning former world champ French team. For the first time ever it’s no certainty who will win.

There was also a judging scandal in the 2002 Winter Olympics pairs figure skating.

Oh, and the 1972 basketball finals!


To say nothing of the 2002 Women’s Ice Hockey Final.

And Jamie Sale is still damned hot.

Looks like I’m the first to mention the 2004 men’s gymnastics controversy. It pretty much ruined the Olympics for me to the extent that I did not watch any of the 2006 Winter Games in Torino. It’s been strange to hear them mentioned during the current Olympics, because as far as I’m concerned they didn’t even exist.

In 1992, there was a scoring controversy in synchronized swimming. One of the judges mistyped her score for the Canadian swimmer, and this wrong score caused the 1st and 2nd places to swap. Well after the games were over, a second gold was given to the Canadian, and the other swimmer was allowed to keep hers as well.

Wow, I hadn’t heard of this one, it’s shocking. I can’t decide what’s worse - the initial errors bythe judges or the Gymnastics Federation President suggested solution - Give your Gold to the other athlete and let us off the hook…

Another prominent judging controversy was Apolo Ohno’s gold medal in the 1500m short track in 2002, awarded after a South Korean was disqualified for cutting him off.

By the way, many others can be found here: List of Olympic Games scandals and controversies - Wikipedia

This “judging controversy” is my personal favorite:

Floyd Mayweather Jr. was robbed in his 1996 semifinal boxing match. There’s at least one controversial decision in boxing every Olympics. The computer scoring system was introduced in 1992 to help eliminate controversy(IIRC in response to the Roy Jones Jr. fight). Itdoesn’t. 3 of 5 judges have to press a button within one second of each other to register a punch. I recall seeing Floyd get a clean hit and nothing showing up several times.