Rhythmic gymnastics hit with scandal

There’s a judging scandal currently rocking the world of rhythmic gymnastics, but it’s probably unlike any you’ve ever heard before.

According to the New York Times, as many as 60 individuals are involved in the poorly-orchestrated ruse, which aimed to help test takers "looking to qualify as official judges, as well as their exam proctors."

Here’s more from the Times:

"The suspected cheating occurred late last year in testing rooms across Europe, where test takers looked to qualify for elite competition like the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. The International Gymnastics Federation, known as F.I.G., spent months investigating the episode. Much of their findings, spanning hundreds of pages, were obtained by The New York Times.

"The documents showed that in Bucharest, Romania, test takers clearly copied answers from one anothers’ papers, including the mistakes. In Moscow, 114 answers were changed on dozens of tests; in Alicante, Spain, 257 answers were changed.

"The exam sheets themselves served as evidence of the suspected cheating — crude markups, blatant copying, unexplained bonus points — that proved as clumsy as a botched rhythmic routine."

The Times report stated that the documents obtained "provided no evidence that the suspected cheating had affected any results in athletic competitions." However, in this sport and any sport where the result is dependent on individual judging, any controversy connected to the legitimacy of the scoring will only bring about more questions.

One top Olympic official has already been expelled and six others, including one American, have been suspended, according to the Times. But this isn’t the first judging scandal to rock rhythmic gymnastics. In 2000, six judges were suspended when it was found they discriminated against a Ukrainian gymnast at the European Championships.

Said Erik Moers, a longtime judge from the Czech Republic who did not take the fishy tests in question: “This sport is very ill. It’s poisoned from head to toe.”