SOCHI, Russia - One of the skaters credited with creating the critical element in the short dance program thinks the Olympic judges got it wrong Sunday.
Finland’s Petri Kokko said in one tweet, ``I don’t understand the judging in #icedancing. @Virtue_Moir should be leading in my honest opinion.'' He earlier tweeted: ``Hope @Virtue_Moir wins. Americans timing off in the #finnstep and restrained even otherwise.''
The judges dinged reigning Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada for an error in the Finnstep, a pattern created in 1995 by Kokko and his partner, Susanna Rahkamo. It cost the Canadians a point, and they are 2.56 points behind reigning world champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White going into Monday’s free dance.
Kokko’s reaction will serve to fuel the outrage of those – including some in the Canadian press – who feel the judges decided to make Davis and White the champions before the competition began.
That, of course, makes one wonder whether it is a competition at all. Since the International Skating Union is too hidebound to have a judge or another official talk to a pool reporter about the reasons for marks, such controversies never will end.
The two Finnstep sequences are the required parts of the short dance, and they together comprise about two-thirds of the length of the 2-minute, 50-second program. This is how Moir explained it:
``The skaters have to do the same step in the same hold and they judge six specific (factors) very crucially. And it’s worth a lot of points. That’s where you make it or break it in this dance.''
The judges decided that Virtue and Moir did something wrong in their first of the two Finnstep sequences, lowering their base value for that element from seven to six points.
With grade of execution factored in, Davis and White lost .07 of the advantage, so they gained .93 over the Canadians on that element.
The score sheet also showed the U.S. team had higher grades of execution on the other four elements, accounting for their 2.08-point margin in technical marks. They also beat the Canadians by .48 on the component scores, which measure interpretation, skating skills, choreography, composition and performance.