A Bad Call Is at the Root of Olympic Controversy


Your editorial, “Tarnished Gold” (Oct. 8), is mean-spirited and false. It’s based on the lie that the Paul Hamm/Yang Tae Young Olympic controversy involves a mathematical mistake. It took a video review to find the truth. It was a bad call on the field of play, pure and simple. Funny thing, the video review revealed another bad call; this time in Yang’s favor.

As in football, gymnastic coaches are allowed to protest, but only before the gymnasts begin the next event. Scores and start values are posted in lights. The problem is that the Koreans failed to check. After the competition was over, after the medals were handed out, then they complained.

The Federation of International Gymnastics blamed the judges and suspended them. Maybe the NFL should consider chasing refs out of the stadium after a bad call.


Then the scandal-loving press jumped all over the judge thing. What was the FIG to do? Shift the blame to Paul; make him fix it. Sorry, Paul, let us go back in time and change the score. Never mind that you didn’t know the true score during the game, that maybe you would have dug deeper. Maybe Yang could have won. Give him your medal, Paul.

Olympic historian David Wallechinski said, “When a federation is in charge of a sport, it makes a decision. It doesn’t ask an athlete to do so.... It’s pathetic.” The American public has voted Paul the winner of “The Spirit of the Olympics Award.” Both the FIG and The Times owe Paul Hamm an apology.

Cecily Hamm

Waukesha, Wis.

The writer is Paul Hamm’s mother.