Japanese athlete Ayumi Hirano, a new gold medalist in the men’s snowboard at the Beijing Winter Olympics, was calling for better refereeing criteria. He said participants were “putting their lives on the line” for the Games, but the scores were not accurate.
According to AFP, Hirano said, “We want to have sound standards and I think we should look into exactly what the judges were looking at. For the athletes, they’re putting their lives on the line, they’re giving it their all. So for the riders, I think some steps need to be taken to address this issue regarding the judges.”
On his second run of the halfpipe final, Hirano astonished the audience by landing a triple cork for the first time in Olympic history, a trick generally thought impossible, followed by a series of breathtaking moves.
His remarkable performance sufficed NBC presenter Todd Richards to call it the finest run in the history of the Olympics. Yet, the judges only gave Hirano a 91.75, not even good enough for first place. The 23-year-old athlete, one of the youngest competitors at the Games, poured out another spectacular performance in the third round that finally brought him his gold medal.
Hirano said that the judgment criteria were “inconsistent,” and there must be a “more robust system.”
He said, “It’s also very important to be amazing and how you can move the audience. But in an Olympic event, we need precise measurements and precise estimation and scoring in terms of range and grip.
Hirano was not the only one giving similar comments on biased referees.
According to Business Insider, South Korea’s short track speed skater Kwak Yoon-gy spoke against the disqualification of Russian and US teams, who finished before China. Thanks to the judgment, the host country was able to advance to the semifinals and won the other gold medal. Russia was disqualified for “obstruction,” while the United States was penalized for “blocking.”
There was no less controversy when China championed the men’s 1,000-meter short-track final.
Per Business Insider, Hungary’s Shaolin Sándor Liu was the first winner of the race. He was disqualified for changing lanes and trying to obstruct China’s Ren Ziwei with his left hand.
Ren in response shoved Liu down to the ice with both hands and faced no penalty for the action.