Letters to the editor: Hamm’s gold is not tarnished

In Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

As I read Mr. Khanh Vu’s piece on Olympic Champion Paul
Hamm’s gold medal, I became increasingly irked, to put it

Not merely by the fact he was writing with what appears to be a
questionably biased opinion, but by his either blatant exclusion of
facts or his failure to research the topic he was writing about

It is true that South Korea’s Gymnast Yang Tae-Young should
have been given a start value of 10.0 on the parallel bar routine
he performed during the fifth rotation in the Men’s Olympic
All-Around.However, what Mr. Vu failed to mention is the fact that
international gymnastics does not allow video replay in
competition, therefore the International Gymnastics Federation
should not have gone back and viewed the video of Tae-Young’s
parallel bar routine – in doing so, the federation in fact
broke one of its own rules. 

However, since Tae-Young’s routine was viewed after the end
of the competition and after the results had been finalized, it is
imperative to note that along with the error on the start value of
the routine, the judges also failed to give a mandatory .20
deduction for performing four holds, in the very same routine in
question, going over the limit of three holds maximum that is set
for routines on that apparatus. 

If you are going to award Tae-Young the added tenth for the error
on the start value based on the video replay, you must then also
fix the other judging mistakes made on that routine, including
taking in the missed deduction Tae-Young should have

With that added deduction weighed against the tenth added for the
error on the start value, Tae-Young would have actually been .59
behind Paul Hamm and placing fourth among the remaining

Put yourself in Paul Hamm’s shoes Mr. Vu. Walk a mile, or
better yet, flip a mile in Mr. Hamm’s socked feet. 

If you were given an honor that you felt you rightly deserved and
were then told that a mistake had been made and maybe you
didn’t actually earn that honor, wouldn’t you
investigate the circumstances and get down to the truth before
handing over that honor? 

Many people in this whole fiasco should be ashamed of
themselves.Paul Hamm is not one of those people. Paul Hamm competed
fairly. He did not, as you implied, cheat within the rules of his
sport set forth by the federation, and, he won by those

Only in the court of public opinion can a person who follows the
rules be vilified. Paul Hamm did the United States proud in Athens,
and deserved his medal.

Melinda M. Barron,
CSUF English major


Dear Editor,

The Olympics may be over, but the controversy isn’t.

It is repeatedly reminded that scoring errors were made during the
gymnastics competition. Thus, the South Koreans madly protested
that the judges change their minds in re-scoring so that Yang
Tae-Young would win his title as the gold medallist.

If Yang Tae-Young was indeed such a strong performer, why did he
not present a steady landing posture from the unbalanced bar
routine shortly after the controversy started?

This incident proved to me that maybe he needed to back off and
re-think to himself, how steady in each event of the gymnastics he
really needed to be in order to hold the title, as the best in the
Individual All-Around (Overall).

For Paul Hamm, his performance not only continued in the same
quality as he presented it to the world before he was granted the
gold, but also he is a solid performer in gymnastics; thus, he
deserved his title as gold medalist.

Because the judges misled Paul Hamm to think that he was performing
for the gold, Paul Hamm strived to perform up to the standard in
order to win the gold.

Therefore, in light of last week’s article, “Hamm Finds
Fools Gold,” the voice against Hamm was too harsh.

Ideally, there would have been an immediate re-match between our
representing gymnast, Hamm and South Korea’s Yang Tae-Yang.
Only if a re-match was requested and the results proven again, with
the same qualities, should Hamm give up his gold then.

He diligently worked for the title, and it was not a mistake that
it was given to him.

Lori Lu, CSUF graduate
student, music studies


Dear Editor,

I think that Khanh Vu’s overly dramatic screed concerning
Paul Hamm was way off target, and not based on actual facts. If
anything remains tainted in gymnastics it is the ongoing
incompetence and political judging of the FIG.

Yang admitted that on the parallel bars he made four pauses or
holds instead of three, which usually merits a two-tenths
deduction, which the scorers failed at. They also failed regarding
the starting value. In contrast, Hamm recovered from a bad fall in
the vault to come back and nail the parallel bars and high bar.

The scandal consists of judges and the FIG, who attempt to
scapegoat athletes with the grievous errors judges have made. Hamm
had the spine to refuse to buckle in to their warped definitions of
dignity and honor. He deserves to keep his medal. The judges got it
wrong by trying to correct mistakes too late, and continued to
whitewash their own errors for several days.

The South Korean camp also protested too late and FIG erred by
allowing that untimely protest. What officials could have done on
the day of competition was give gold medals to both Hamm and Yang,
and the other South Korean could have received a silver or

But apparently the officials are too adolescent to think of that
and they refuse to accept responsibility for their own
unprofessionalism. Once again, athletes are made to suffer for the
character flaws and mistakes that officials have made.

Chris P. Milord,
CSUF alumnus

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