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Five controversies in Olympic figure skating history

Mirai Nagasu out - Ashley Wagner in
Mirai Nagasu out - Ashley Wagner in Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

There are some controversies in figure skating history that have caught the attention of ice skating fans and the general public. The newest controversy is that 2012 and 2013 US figure skating champion Ashley Wagner, who skated badly at the 2014 US National Figure Skating Championships, was awarded an Olympic figure skating spot over 2010 Olympian and 2014 US bronze medalist, Marai Nagasu. Check out the attached photo slideshow that gives information about this controversy and other controversies in Olympic ice skating history.

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"Tonya and Nancy"
"Tonya and Nancy" Photo by Pascal Rondeau/Getty Images

"Tonya and Nancy"

After a practice session at the 1994 United States National Figure Skating Championships in Detroit, Michigan, Nancy Kerrigan was attacked and hit hard with a hard object on her knee. The accident made it impossible for her to compete and it looked as if she might not be able to compete at the Olympics.  Tonya Harding won the 1994 US title and qualified for the Games, but Nancy Kerrigan recovered in time and also was included on the 1994 US Olympic figure skating team.  

As the Olympics grew closer, it was alleged that Tonya Harding might have been part of the conspiracy to hurt Nancy Kerrigan.  Although Harding did compete in 1994's Olympics, the outcome was that Tonya Harding was banned from U.S. Figure Skating for life and all records of her winning the 1994 US figure skating title were erased.  The "Kerrigan Attack" (The Tonya-Nancy Figure Skating Scandal) increased figure skating's popularity.

The 2002 Olympic figure skating scandal
The 2002 Olympic figure skating scandal Doug Pensinger - Getty Images

The 2002 Olympic figure skating scandal

At the 2002 Winter Olympics, Yelena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze of Russia were first awarded the pair skating gold medal over Canadians Jamie Salé and David Pelletier, but the Canadians skated perfectly and the Russians made a mistake.  Deception was uncovered after that.  It was alleged that the French judge gave the Russian pair champions higher marks due to pressure from the French Skating Federation and her score was the deciding factor on who would win the gold medal.

Two sets of 2002 Olympic pair skating champions were then crowned. Russians Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze kept their gold medals, but the Canadian pair of Jamie Salé and David Pelletier were also awarded Olympic gold medals.

A new figure skating judging system was implemented in response. 

No Olympics for Mirai - Olympics for Ashley
No Olympics for Mirai - Olympics for Ashley Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

No Olympics for Mirai - Olympics for Ashley

At the 2014 U.S. National Figure Skating Championships, Mirai Nagasu won the bronze medal.  The favorite, Ashley Wagner, who won the U.S. ladies title in 2012 and 2013, skated badly and placed 4th.  It seemed as if Wagner would be off the 2014 U.S. Olympic figure skating team, but that was not to be.  The next day it was announced that Ashley Wagner would compete in Sochi.  This decision caused much controversy.  

Vivian and Ronald Joseph Olympic bronze medals taken away
Vivian and Ronald Joseph Olympic bronze medals taken away Getty Images

Vivian and Ronald Joseph Olympic bronze medals taken away

Vivian and Ronald Joseph, a US sister-brother pair skating team, first placed fourth at the 1964 Olympic Winter Games, but then were notified that the second place pair team, the West Germans, had already signed an ice show contract, and so the Germans' silver medals were taken away. The Josephs were awarded Olympic bronze medals and the 1964 Canadian pair skaters, who had been first awarded the bronze, were awarded silver medals.  

Years passed and all seemed final, but in 1987, the International Olympic Committee re-awarded the West German pair with their silver medals which meant the Josephs no longer held the status as Olympic bronze medalists.  

History books no longer listed them as medalists, but in December of 2013, the matter changed again. The Germans and Canadians now share the 1964 Olympic silver medal and the Josephs are officially the 1964 Olympic bronze pair skating medal winners. 

1998 Olympic ice dancing judging questioned
1998 Olympic ice dancing judging questioned Photo by Mike Powell - Getty Images

1998 Olympic ice dancing judging questioned

In 1998, the Olympic ice dancing event was won for a second time by 1994 Olympic ice dance champions Pasha Grishuk and Evgeny Plakov of Russia even though Grishuk fell during the compulsory ice dance initial phase of the competition.  Accusations were made that ice dance judging was unfair and perhaps fixed.