You can’t revise history

Gymnastics officials want Hamm to give up gold

Posted: Friday August 27, 2004 9:53AM; Updated: Friday August 27, 2004 10:31AM

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Gymnastics officials asked Paul Hamm to give up his gold medal as the ultimate show of sportsmanship, but the U.S. Olympic Committee told them to take responsibility for their own mistakes.

The USOC is exactly right.

In a dispute over scores that has turned into a political squabble, the head of the International Gymnastics Federation suggested in a letter to Hamm that giving the all-around gold medal to South Korea’s Yang Tae-young “would be recognized as the ultimate demonstration of fair play by the whole world.”

You cannot change history, no matter how you try. If you could I can think of about 6 different things in my life that would be different.

FIG president Bruno Grandi tried to send the letter Thursday night to Hamm through the USOC, but the USOC refused to deliver it.

Give the USOC a harrumph.

In a letter back to Grandi, USOC secretary general Jim Scherr called the request “a blatant and inappropriate attempt on the part of (FIG) to once again shift responsibility for its own mistakes and instead pressure Mr. Hamm into resolving what has become an embarrassing situation for your federation.”

That is correct, I feel badly for Hamm. He shouldn’t be placed in this position.

Yang, the bronze medalist, was wrongly docked a tenth of a point on his parallel bars routine. If he had received the proper score, he would have won gold and Hamm would have won silver. Three judges were suspended, and FIG said the results would stand.

Through his agent, Hamm declined comment, but he has said in the past that he has no intentions of giving up his medal unless ordered to do so by FIG. Grandi said Friday he believed the issue was closed until he learned of that comment by Hamm.

Although Grandi’s letter says “the true winner of the all-around competition is Yang Tae-young” the FIG president insisted he’s not pressuring Hamm.

“There is no doubt he has won the medal,” Grandi said. “He deserves the medal and the ranking is clear. … I respect totally Paul Hamm and all the decisions he makes. If he says give back the medal, I respect it. Don’t give back the medal, I respect the decision. He is not responsible for anything.”

The USOC had a much different interpretation of the letter.

“I don’t know of any comparison in any sport anywhere where you crown an athlete, crown a team and then say, ‘Oh, that was a mistake. Would you fix this for us?”‘ USOC chairman Peter Ueberroth said.

Ueberroth said the USOC considers the case closed, based on the FIG ruling — that the scores cannot be changed — and from a statement from International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge, who said the IOC would stick with the results turned in by the federation and wouldn’t step in unless there were clear signs of impropriety.

If Hamm had known about this during the competition he might have done things differently too. He could have engaged in a more difficult routine to elevate his scores. But you can’t go back.

If the Lakers would have been completely healthy the Pistons never would have won, but again, unless you are HG Wells history is immutable.

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