In figure skating history, politics-oriented scandals were plenty. One of them was 1956 Olympics where the Canadian pair Frances Dafoe and Norris Bowden competed against the Austrian pair Elisabeth Schwarz and Kurt Oppelt.
At that time figure skating was dominated by Austrian skaters and Austrian skating board, and they made sure that the Austrian pair Elisabeth Schwarz and Kurt Oppelt won.
Dafoe was informed that there would be seven judges among whom a judge from Switzerland was included, known as neutral. But In competition, two pro-Austrian judges were added without a proper procedure.
“It was game over,” said Dafoe afterwards as soon as he saw them.
Dafoe suffered defeat as four out of nine judges placed the Canadians first, while five the Austrians. That night, most of the coaches at the competition asked the ISU to reverse the decision, but the ISU refused.
At the banquet, Dafoe and Bowden were referred as the most outstanding skaters, and this time, Austrian skaters left in protest.
In 1952, Jacqueline du Bief won the World Championships in Paris. At that time there wasn’t TV camera to record the compulsory competition, but spectators were left dumbfounded as one judge gave her a perfect mark 6.0 despite she fell twice and at one point, derailed from her track.
Du Bief beat Klopfer, the apparent winner, and crowd booed and threw glass bottles.
Another example comes from Sonja Henie.
In 1927 World Championships in Oslo, the judging panel consists of three Norwegians and an Austrian and a German. The Norwegians voted for Henie while the other non-Norwegians voted for Herma Szabo, an Austrian skater.
Most spectators favored Szabo and protested, which eventually led the ISU to change the rules so that only one judge per country was allowed at the international events.
Figure skating’s susceptibility to nationalism has a long history. Sochi Scandal was just a reminder of its incorrigible past.