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27 Dec, 2021 17:53

Fans demand Olympic spot for Russian ‘Empress’ after ‘biased’ judging

Fans of figure skater Elizaveta Tuktamysheva have made accusations of bias after results at the recent Russian Championships
Fans demand Olympic spot for Russian ‘Empress’ after ‘biased’ judging

Supporters of Russian figure skater Elizaveta Tuktamysheva have launched a petition for her to be called up to the Beijing Olympics, after a disappointing performance at the national championships means she is set to miss out.

The 25-year-old finished seventh at the Russian Championships in St Petersburg over the weekend.

As a result, 'The Empress' was only awarded a reserve spot on Russia's team for the European Championships. 

The Russian trio for that event will be national champion Kamila Vallieva, 15, and 17-year-old duo Alexandra Trusova and Anna Shcherbakova.

All three are also likely to be handed the coveted spots on the Russian Olympic skating team for Beijing. 

However, admirers of 2015 World Champion Tuktamysheva are adamant she shouldn't miss out on the Games, especially as the star failed to make the Olympic team in 2014 and 2018.

Taking action, they have headed to Change.org to launch a petition demanding that the former child prodigy lines up for Russia at the spectacle, which kicks off on February 4. 

In particular, they were angered that Tuktamysheva finished a full five points behind Shcherbakova in their free skate programs on Sunday, even though Tuktamysheva's effort was claimed to be much more impressive.  

"The last Russian Figure Skating Championship showed all the 'bias' of the judges' assessments," began a description.

"The right people are pulled out with points to go to the Beijing Olympics.

"Well, how can an athlete with two falls [Shcherbakova] bypass a person who has completed two ultra-C elements in the program?

"Let's end this mess!" it was demanded.

"Well, at least we will try! Enough of this injustice, cronyism and nepotism!"

By Monday evening in Russia, the petition had already come close to receiving the 1,500 signatures it had initially targeted. 

Given Tuktamysheva boasts over 300,000 followers on Instagram alone, it shouldn't be a difficult number to hit, even if it ultimately has little bearing on her Olympic dream.