By Nick Butler in Pushkin Hall at the Main Media Centre in Sochi

Adelina Sotnikova's victory has been somewhat tainted by criticism of the judges ©Getty ImagesFebruary 21 - An online petition seeking an investigation into the judging of last night's ladies' figure skating final has gained more than 1.5 million signatures, but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) say this will happen only if an official complaint is made. 

After a huge score in her free skate, Russia's Adelina Sotnikova won a surprise gold medal with 224.59 points, well ahead of South Korean favourite and defending champion Yuna Kim - while Italy's Carolina Kostner was further back in third.

But there was widespread uproar over these results, particularly in South Korea where around 90 per cent of the petition signatures originated, but also from other figures in the skating fraternity. 

The petition, on the website, calls for an "open investigation into judging decisions of women's figure skating and demands re-judgement at the Sochi Olympics", and concludes by insisting that "this is not for Yuna Kim, this is for the fair sportsmanship that is supposed to be central to the world event of the Olympics".

One of the nine judges, Ukraine's Yuri Balkov, was suspended for a year after being recorded trying to fix an event at Nagano 1998 while another, Alla Shekhovtseva, is the wife of the former President and current general director of the Russian Figure Skating Federation Valentin Piseev.

Yuna Kim and Adelina Sotnikova following the conclusion of last nights event ©Getty ImagesYuna Kim and Adelina Sotnikova following the conclusion of last night's event
©Getty Images

But, speaking this morning, IOC spokesman Mark Adams played down this criticism when he said: "I don't know much about skating but I think Sotnikova's performance was agreed by many to be absolutely fantastic.

"At the moment my personal point of view would be to congratulate what was a fantastic performance, and I think Yuna Kim did the same."

He continued: "I know that the IOC has a pretty sophisticated judging system with safeguards in place.

"I am certain there hasn't been any complaint.

"If it does, firstly it would go through the ISU [International Skating Union] and if there isn't a credible complaint then we wouldn't take it any further.

"But this is all hypothetical."

On the question of whether the IOC has any concerns about the composition of the judging panel, he added: "It is the Federation which chooses the make-up of the panel and I think it's clear that there's no hiding who is on the panel."

With some question marks also being held by some over results from earlier in the competition, Sochi 2014 has continued the trend of controversial Olympic figure skating events.

The most infamous example of this came at Salt Lake City 2002, when Russian pair Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze were awarded gold despite making a technical error. 

After a lengthy investigation a French judge reportedly confessed she had been pressured to favour the Russian pair, and Canadians Jamie Sale and David Pelletier were eventually awarded a joint gold medal. 

Russian and Canadian pairs were each awarded gold medals at Salt Lake City 2002 ©Boston Globe/Getty ImagesRussian and Canadian pairs were each awarded gold medals at Salt Lake City 2002 ©Boston Globe/Getty Images

Since then, figure skating judging rules were revamped to avoid the identity of the judges scores being known - although some have said that this only adds to the possibilities for fixing of the results.

However, it is important to note these claims are by no means unanimous and many have pointed out that Sotnikova's performance was more complicated than that of Kim Yuna and was thus fully deserving of the gold medal. 

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