The International Skating Union (ISU) was founded in 1892 and held its first official competition in 1893—the European championship in Berlin. The speed skating events went well. The figure skating event began the tradition of judging controversies.
The problem was figuring out whether Eduard Engelmann or Henning Grenander won. Engelmann had won the previous year, before the ISU took charge. An article published a few days later in The Field summarized the events:
This article ignored the systemic problem underlying the controversy: how do you add up the judges scores?
An article by Carl Fillunger published the next day in the Allgemeine Sport-Zeitung gives full details of the scores.
The problem is that some of the judges gave the skaters half points. Engelmann got 1987 points plus 4 half-points. Grenander got 1988 points plus 2 half-points. If you round the half-points down, Grenander wins. If you keep them as half-points, there’s a tie (and Engelmann wins because the figures break the tie). If you round up, Engelmann wins.
Fillunger proposed counting the half-points as half-points and gives the title to Grenander. Instead, the ISU declared the competition invalid. But 77 years later, when the ISU published 75 Years of European and World’s Championships in Figure Skating, they gave Engelmann the title—with a footnote invalidating it and the results calculated using ordinals instead of points.
Carl Fillunger, “Zur Aufklärung,” Allgemeine Sport-Zeitung, January 29, 1893, 105.
“The figure-skating championship,” The Field, January 28, 1893, 111.
International Skating Union. 1970. 75 Years of European and World’s Championships in Figure Skating. Results in Figure Skating. Davos, Switzerland: International Skating Union.