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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 October, 2004, 12:53 GMT 13:53 UK
Hamm to keep Olympic gold medal
Paul Hamm and Yang Tae-young
American gymnast Paul Hamm has been allowed to keep his Olympic gold medal.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected an appeal from South Korea's Yang Tae-young that he should be awarded the gold.

The South Korean was mistakenly docked 0.1 points in his parallel bars routine - had he been given the correct score he would have beaten Hamm.

Hamm was the first American man to win the gymnastics' all-round title at the Olympic Games.

The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) had ruled that bronze medallist Yang should have been awarded the gold but refused to redistribute the medals because the South Koreans did not protest until after the event.

However, the three judges involved in the controversy were suspended by the federation.

South Korea appealed to the US Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee, but IOC president Jacques Rogge flatly refused to consider giving Yang a gold medal.

I feel like I had to win my medal in three ways
Paul Hamm
FIG president Bruno Grandi then confused the issue by writing a letter to Hamm and asking him to surrender the gold medal voluntarily.

He wrote: "The true winner of the all-around competition is Yang Tae-young."

Buoyed by that statement, Yang filed an appeal on the final day of the Olympics with CAS.

On 27 September, six weeks after the men's all-around competition, a three-judge panel heard Yang's appeal at CAS headquarters.

During the hearing, USOC attorney Jeff Benz argued there was no guarantee Yang would have won the gold if not for the scoring error because there was still one event left and no guarantee everything would have turned out the same.

Benz also argued that "field of play" decisions - judgement calls by officials during competitions - were not subject to review by CAS.

The tug-of-war over the medal has overshadowed Hamm's performance, one of the greatest comebacks in gymnastics' history.

The defending world champion appeared to lose any chance of a medal - let alone the gold - when he botched the landing of his vault and stumbled backwards, landing on a judge's table.

His score dropped him to 12th place with only two events left.

But one by one, the gymnasts above him faltered and Hamm was spectacular, closing with a pair of 9.837s on the parallel bars and high bar to win the gold.

"I feel like I had to win my medal in three ways," Hamm said last month.

Links to more Gymnastics stories


Gymnast launches court bid
12 Sep 04  |  Gymnastics
Hamm wins individual gold
18 Aug 04  |  Gymnastics
View from America
25 Aug 04  |  US Sport


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