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‘Why do we need an Olympiad?’ Judges have ‘destroyed the future of sport’ with ‘insulting’ Averina decision, seethes Sevastyanova

‘Why do we need an Olympiad?’ Judges have ‘destroyed the future of sport’ with ‘insulting’ Averina decision, seethes Sevastyanova
Former champion Karolina Sevastyanova has blasted the hugely controversial call to deny Russian rhythmic gymnast Dina Averina gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, describing the judging decision as "insulting" and "painful".

2012 Olympics all-round champion Sevastyanova watched in horror as hot favorite Averina was awarded silver in the individual all-round competition, falling foul of scorecards that resulted in fury and an official protest from the Russian Olympic Committee.

Legendary figure skating coach Tatiana Tarasova labeled the judges "bandits" after lsrael’s Linoy Ashram took gold despite dropping the ribbon during her routine, meaning that a Russian rhythmic gymnast did not win the individual all-round title for the first time since 1996.

The deeply contentious verdict was condemned by a range of other leading figures in the sport, and Averina, who was reduced to tears by the news of her hotly-debated near-miss, spoke of an "injustice" after the contest.

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Sevastyanova has emphatically backed Averina and admitted that the emotions she feels over the issue are "overwhelming".

"Who are the 'judges'?" asked the stunned two-time European champion, suggesting that Averina's defeat had been a result of assessors "calculating points for so long that Dina won't get more".

"This Olympics just destroyed the future of sports. Now anyone, in any form, who will perform poorly, can claim first place and say that now everything is permissible.

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"Why, then, do we need an Olympiad and why do we need to train at all, if you can drop [the ribbon] and still take first place?

"I don't know how this could have happened and why – but one thing I can say for sure, Dina, [is that] for everyone you are an Olympic champion and showed it on the carpet."

Thousands of fans on social media showed their approval for Sevastyanova's remarks, which she accompanied with a photo of devastated Averina holding her head in her hands before receiving her medal.

"It was insulting and painful to watch how the gymnast [Ashram], who made a huge mistake, gets Olympic gold, and our Dina, with perfect performance and incredible technique, gets silver.

"How can this be done in front of the whole world? I'm just still in shock and refuse to understand how this is possible."

Sevastyanova told the 22-year-old: "You were the best. If the 'judges' didn’t want to see it, then the whole world sees and understands everything.

"You are the [champion]. I hope our country will not leave it this way and will, until the last, defend the honor of our gymnasts and all of our athletes."

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