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beijing olympics 2022

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Figure skating judge banned for Chinese ‘national bias’ at 2018 Olympics to be back for Beijing Games

  • Chinese figure skating judge Huang Feng, who was suspended following a ruling that determined he was displaying preferential treatment toward Chinese skaters in the 2018 Olympics, will once again judge at the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

  • The International Skating Union (ISU) banned Huang for a year after the last Winter Olympics, but competition records revealed he will serve as a “technical controller” in Beijing.

  • Allegations of nationalistic bias in figure skating have been a consistent problem in the sport for years, with studies showing “consistently measurable bias” by judges around the world.

A Chinese figure skating judge who previously served a suspension for preferential treatment at the 2018 Olympics will be on a technical judging panel in Beijing, competition records show.

The International Skating Union (ISU) ruled that Huang displayed “obvious and systematic bias” while judging pairs figure skating at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics. It was determined that Huang displayed bias in favor of Chinese skaters Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, who won silver in the pairs competition. Huang was subsequently banned from judging for one year, although he maintained that the rules were unclear and moved to have the charges dismissed. 

The ISU had moved to continue the ban and keep Huang from judging in the 2022 Olympics, according to Reuters; however, as it currently stands, Huang will be a technical controller supervising technical specialist judges. In this role, he would have the ability to propose corrections to difficulty levels of elements within skaters’ routines. 

Athletes previously judged by Huang have commented on the situation. Canadian bronze medalist Meagan Duhamel, who was part of a pairs team impacted by Huang’s judging in 2018, told Reuters, “You should not be allowed to be suspended and your reward is working in the next Olympics.” 

The unique methodology behind figure skating judging has resulted in a verified record of bias. A Buzzfeed News Investigation in 2018 counted Huang among 16 judges that acted with nationalistic bias, including other judges from China as well as the U.S. and Canada.

Feature Image via Getty Images / Lintao Zhang

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