MOSCOW, November 26 (R-Sport) - The coach of seven-time European champion Evgeni Plushenko said Monday that judging at top figure skating competitions remains biased toward home favorites.
Alexei Mishin suggested Japanese skater Mao Asada’s victory at her home Grand Prix on Saturday was the result of home advantage, and said official attempts to cut out bias did not always work.
“It’s hard to fight for the win when, for example, the Japanese athlete Mao Asada, after performing two triple jumps in the free program at her home Grand Prix, gets high marks and takes first place,” Mishin told R-Sport.
“It turns out the actions taken by the International Skating Union to make the judging more objective sometimes suffer some glitches.”
The ISU brought in the current scoring system in 2004 after the 2002 Olympics were marred by claims of biased judging and puts a heavy focus on individual technical elements.
Mishin said the situation was cause for “concern” and called for technical and presentation scores to be equally weighted. He also suggested that young skaters lose out when judges award higher scores because of their rivals’ greater experience.
“The score for components often doesn’t reflect the true skill, but the time the athlete has spent in the figure skating world,” he said.
As well as Plushenko, Mishin has coached Olympic champions Alexei Urmanov and Alexei Yagudin, and coaches the 15-year-old prodigy Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, who burst onto the scene with two Grand Prix wins last season.