Russian officials are fuming at Israel’s rhythmic gymnastics gold medal win in Tokyo on Saturday, calling for a probe of the judging that allowed Linoy Ashram to take the top spot despite briefly dropping her ribbon apparatus during the contest’s final round.
Rhythmic gymnasts perform with four types of apparatuses in the all-around contest: a hoop, a ball, clubs and a ribbon. Dropping an apparatus during one’s performance is a big no-no and costs points.
Indeed, Russian favorite Dina Averina scored higher than Ashram with the ribbon, but Ashram’s total was still just high enough to beat her out for the gold. Averina was forced to content herself with the silver in the individual competition, but the ribbon flub has helped fuel Moscow’s complaints that judging was unfair.
It seems, however, that we have a bit of a ‘pot calling the kettle black’ situation here: It turns out that Averina dropped the ribbon herself in the 2018 Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria. Despite this, she clocked a 19-point score on the ribbon, while Ashram (who made no such fumble) received an 18.9.
Averina — what nerve! — went on to win the all-around gold, leaving Ashram with the silver.
Below is the incriminating video. We’ll let you be the judge.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova fumed at Ashram’s win on Saturday, accusing the judges of committing “forgery in front of the whole world.”
“Those who started the Russophobic war against the sport could not allow this victory,” Zakharova said on messaging app Telegram.
Averina herself said: “I can’t spot any obvious mistake that I did. I was pretty consistent and clean compared to Linoy who lost the apparatus.”
“It hurts and it’s painful that there was unfair judging today,” she told sports broadcaster Match TV. “I got through all of the disciplines more or less cleanly, properly, and came second. I’m hurt by the injustice, I support honest sport.”
Said Ashram on Sunday: “I didn’t look at the others or at their results. I was focused just on myself, my scores and what I got.”
Agencies contributed to this report.