Kim Yu-na
Kim Yu-na [Reuters]

The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics have had its share of controversies, but the stunning defeat of South Korean superstar figure skater Kim Yu-na in Ladies' Single Skating on Thursday to unheralded Adelina Sotnikova of Russia has set off conspiracy theories that mar the spirit of the games.

The 23-year-old defending champion entered this year's Winter Olympics as the hot favourite to win the Ladies Singles competition after winning the Olympics gold medal in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Kim continued her brilliant performance in figure skating even in Sochi with her jumps, spins, step sequences, spirals, and other moves coming off as impressive.

However, the judges handed the gold to Sotnikova from the host country, much to the bemusement of foreign spectators at Iceberg Skate Palace.

The judging system in figure skating has come under scrutiny as Sotnikova won the gold with a five point margin over Kim.

The Washington Post reported the South Korean's act was flawless and without any weakness and that she deserved winning gold for the second time.

However, for Kim, things did not go as planned and after coming second in the competition she announced her career was over.

The Post pointed out that one of the judges in the panel that awarded gold to the Russian had been banned for a year in the late 1990s on charges of attempting to fix an ice dance competition.

The composition of the judging panel for the figure skating event had already kicked up a controversy.

USA Today reported that judges from the United States, South Korea, Great Britain and Sweden were not chosen for the panel to judge women's long programme as they were part of the women's short programme on Wednesday night.

Score comparison

Sotnikova's final score was 224.59, which saw her clinch gold while Kim scored 219.11. The controversies surrounding the point system soon became the talking point and many experts who witnessed the event believed the South Korean deserved the gold in Sochi.

However, it has been pointed out that judging in figure skating has always attracted controversies.

In the programme component score, Kim had an upper hand of 74.50 to Russia's 17-year-old 74.41. However, the South Korean lost in the technical elements score to Sotnikova with a score of 75.54 to 69.69.

With the figure skating judging process remaining opaque and controversial no one would know if the South Korean lost it naturally or was denied the top honours at her final competitive event.

However, Kim won the hearts of people worldwide while settling for silver. And her retirement came as a shock.

Following her disappointign podium finish, the South Korean confirmed her performance on Thursday night was the last competitive event in her career.

''I'm so glad it's over. Training is so hard for any athlete. I'm so happy to be here because it's my last competition as a skater. When I finished I was so tired," Kim said.

"I didn't watch the skaters before me because I was preparing my programme. I just thought I did everything I could. I didn't feel any pressure but it has been four years since Vancouver so I was exhausted.''