Letter to the Editor: Student Defends Paul Hamm

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As a long-time Olympic gymnastics fan, Greg Skidmore’s article did not do justice to Paul Hamm factually. The failure of judges to value Yang Tae-Young’s parallel bars routine at its proper start value was not their only mistake on that same routine. Gymnasts are only allowed three “holds” during the course of a parallel bars routine and Tae-Young used four, which should have resulted in an automatic .2 deduction that the judges also failed to recognize. The commentator’s played the routine over and over the day after the dispute arose and it’s pretty clear that the judges screwed up not once, but twice. Thus, if the score has been properly assessed, Tae-Young’s score would have been .1 LOWER, not higher. There is no doubt this is one of most poorly judged Olympic men’s gymnastics competitions ever. This was not the only major scoring error in this competition and there is no doubt the judges deserve reprimand (See for example, Alexi Nemov’s high bar routine in the event finals). However, I don’t think Greg Skidmore’s article gave Paul Hamm his due. It’s not fair treatment of the situation to launch into “life’s not fair” as the only possible explanation for Hamm’s Olympic gold, when in all fairness he SHOULD have won. I think we should have heard that side of the story in the article.

Krista Hessler Carver, 2L

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