The way figure skating's governing organization have acted in the wake of Adelina Sotnikova's contentious gold medal win has been a study how to act suspiciously guilty after a controversial result. That odd behavior continued on Thursday when the International Olympic Committee offered up quotes from silver medalist Kim Yu-na admitting that Adelina Sotnikova was the best skater of the night. But Kim had never said such a thing.
The fabricated quotes appear on a story (without a byline) published on the official Olympic website, and refer to Kim as a gracious and accepting loser. Here's a screenshot from a Google cache version of the site:
The quotes the IOC used were caught by Kim and her agent. "We confirmed IOC's article. It's not what Kim Yu-na have said. We are working on it to handle this," an official of Kim's agency told the Chosun Ilbo news outlet. And Kim's agency's response and demand for the article to be changed has been catching fire in South Korea.
If you look at how the IOC article appears now, the quotes are gone. But there's no correction or reference of an update:
The quotes IOC attributed to Kim also don't fit with what she has officially said about the competition. Earlier this week she told fans that she (like pretty much everyone else in the figure skating world who isn't Russian) thought the judging was inexplicable, but refused to look back. "It was all very absurd but I was just happy that it was all finished, she told fans in South Korea. "I have never gone over the result and thought what might have been," Kim added.
While this might just be a case of irresponsible attribution and misquoting, the IOC's blunder and lack of formal correction will only add fuel to the controversy surrounding Sotnikova's gold medal. There are many people (over 2 million people signed an online petition asking for an investigation or explanation) who aren't happy with her win and there are lingering questions about the judging and integrity of the sport.
What isn't helping is that the sport's governing bodies are pretending like the complaints have been quashed. The International Skating Union's basic message is that they stand by the result, though they have been caught deleting and blocking users on social media and removing pieces of their contact information to tamp down dissent. Using made-up quotes that make Kim seem complicit with the result only bring up more questions.
We reached out the IOC regarding the deleted quotes and the lack of a correction or explanation, but have not yet received a response.