Miss USA Alexandria Mills, a recent high school grad, was crowned the winner of the 60th anniversary Miss World beauty contest, but her victory is being clouded by allegations that host country China threw the results.
Norwegian Mariann Birkedal, 25, was considered the odds on favorite to win the competition, but failed to even make the final five runner ups.
Now some critics are charging the Chinese hosts manipulated the results in retaliation for the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to a Chinese human rights dissident.
Rumors circulated last night that judges bowed to pressure from Beijing because of a bitter diplomatic spat with Norway over the awarding of the Nobel prize.
The Nobel Peace Prize committee, which is based in Oslo, Norway, awarded the coveted prize to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo earlier this month.
Before the contest, Miss Norway was a an odds on six-to-five favorite to win the competition. Miss USA, on the other hand was given a seven-to-one chance of winning.
Kathrine Sorland, a Norwegian TV personality who came fourth in Miss World 2002, said she believed China retaliated over the Nobel Peace Prize.
“I was sure she would win,” she told reporters. “They must have mixed politics and business. Without jumping to conclusions I would stress that Miss World competitions have always been political.”
Indeed, Taiwan was unable to compete because Beijing does not recognize it as an independent country.
And Miss Japan reportedly was shunned by the audience because of Japan’s claim to the Diaoyu Islands over fishing and mineral rights.