Adelina Sotnikova, who skated for Russia at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, stunned the skating world when she beat out reigning champion Yu-na Kim of South Korea for the gold medal.

Adelina Sotnikova's Surprising Gold Medal Win

Sotnikova, 17, trounced her previous best of 131.63 points with a score of 149.94 from the judges. Kim, who had taken gold at Vancouver 2010 and was thought by many to have been the best skater on the ice once again, was awarded only 144.19 points.

“When I had performed all the elements, I knew I would be on the podium but not which medal,” Sotnikova admitted after the scores were read, according to The Washington Post. “When I saw I had won on the technical elements, I didn’t believe my eyes.”

Kim, likely wary of seeming bitter, diplomatically stated that skating – not scoring – was her specialty. “The score is given by the judges,” she said. “I’m not in the right position to comment on it. And my words can change nothing.”

Kurt Browning Of Figure Skating Scoring

The scoring in figure skating has long courted controversy and been subject to accusations of corruption. It doesn’t help that the judges are currently able to remain anonymous; no one knows which judge gave which scores to a certain skater. As pointed out by four-time world champion Kurt Browning, the scores the judges award have more to do with math – assuming they’re not tainted – than the way a program looks.

Yu-na Kim outskated her, but it’s not just a skating competition anymore — it’s math,” Browning told The New York Times. “I just couldn’t see how Yu-na and Sotnikova were so close in the components. What, suddenly, she just became a better skater overnight? I don’t know what happened. I’m still trying to figure it out.”

While Sotnikova and Kim claimed the top two spots on the podium, the bronze medal went to Carolina Kostner of Italy. Just barely missing out on a medal was American standout Gracie Gold, who placed fourth. Gold’s teammates Ashley Wagner and Polina Edmunds placed seventh and ninth, respectively.

– Chelsea Regan

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