Chinese figure-skating judge makes Beijing return despite ‘systematic bias’


Chinese figure-skating official who was banned for biased judging will work at the Beijing Games

Chinese figure-skating judge Huang Feng, who was caught giving preferential marks to his compatriots at the 2018 Olympics, will officiate at the upcoming Beijing Games after serving a one-year ban.

Four years ago, Huang favored Chinese pair Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, giving them the highest scores for the elements while on the judging panel at the pair’s skating event in PyeongChang.

He awarded them ‘suspiciously’ high execution scores in seven different elements, while also giving the German couple of Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot, who claimed gold, the lowest scores of all the judges.

Huang’s actions came despite a warning he had been given a month before the Pyeongchang Games, following suspicious scoring at the 2017 ISU Grand Prix Final in Nagoya.

Sui Wenjing and Han Cong of China, Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany, Canada’s Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford at 2018 Winter Games © Sputnik / Vladimir Pesnya

A report released by the International Skating Union (ISU) Disciplinary Commission said the judge had shown “obvious and systematic bias” at the 2018 Winter Games.

The seriousness of his misconduct is aggravated by the fact that it was committed at the Olympic Winter Games, the doubtlessly most important and prestigious competition that exists in figure skating,” its decision stated.

Huang was slapped with a one-year ban in June 2018 for biased judging, along with fellow official Chen Weiguang, who was suspended for two years and excluded from judging at Beijing 2022.

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After sitting out his ban, Huang returned to judging and will work at the home Olympics in Beijing, where he is listed as a technical controller – an official who can propose corrections regarding the level of difficulty for elements displayed by skaters.

The decision to approve Huang for the Games has been met with criticism from some pundits, given that 2018 Olympic runners-up Wenjing and Cong will again compete at the Games as they bid to clinch the coveted title on home ice in Beijing.

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