Feb. 21, 2014— -- An online petition calling for an investigation into how a Russian Olympic skater won a gold medal has quickly gathered more than 1.74 million signatures, making it possibly the most viral petition ever.
"It's one of the biggest if not the biggest that we've ever seen on the site," said Aften Lay, a spokeswoman for Change.org, the San Francisco-based company which operates the petition site.
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The petition launched Thursday after Russian figure skater Adelina Sotnikova won a gold medal over South Korean skater Yuna Kim. Many watchers felt Kim had been the better skater and that she had been robbed.
The petition accumulated 900,000 signatories in just seven hours, according to Change.org and has been growing at a rate of 30,000 to 40,000 signatures every hour, Lay said. By this afternoon, the figure skating petition had more than 1.74 million signatories.
The site experienced some delays for a couple hours on Thursday night because of the rate at which the petition was growing, but there was no crash, Lay said.
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The two petitions that previously held the record for highest traffic demanded prosecution of George Zimmerman for the shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin and another requested that YouTube allow the use of third-party recording tools. The YouTube petition has more than 4.3 million signatories while the Trayvon Martin petition has more than 2.2 million signatures.