[EDITORIALS]We were robbed!

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[EDITORIALS]We were robbed!

The 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic games are being peppered with controversial judgments or one-sided calls. The first winter sports event of the 21st century is showing a side that does not reflect the true spirit of the Olympics. Some might say that the customary muscle-flexing of the host nation is the main culprit, but for those who have fallen victim to this wrongly placed egoism, like our country, it is hard to hide some bitterness.

The disqualification yesterday of our short track skater Kim Dong-sung in the men's 1,500-meter heat is the latest incident. Despite crossing the finish line first, Kim was robbed of his gold medal for shaky reasons. The second-place finisher, ironically an American skater, got the gold medal. The reason for Kim's disqualification is that he was said to have blocked the American's path as the latter was trying to pass.

After continuously watching the game's videotape, Kim's superiority throughout the race is clear and it is hard to justify the referee's call. On the contrary, the Hollywood-like gestures of the American skater seemed to be the only problem in this race. The television commentators and professionals agreed that the disqualification call was not just. The NBC television network conducted an Internet survey right after the race; 96 percent of the voters believed that the judge's decision to disqualify Kim was not fair. This is a simple and objective example of how wrong the call was. No wonder Koreans are outraged at this behavior of the host nation, that seems to have wanted to give birth to a hero. We have been robbed ? in broad daylight.

Since the opening of the games, debates about bad calls have flourished. In figure skating, after investigations were launched into a scandal in which clear winners were awarded second place, joint gold medals were awarded. In speed skating, a fast start by an American skater is under scrutiny, and disqualification calls in short track speed skating involving two Korean athletes have sparked debates.

Sports without fair play is an act of violence. Doing one's best and accepting the results are acts in line with the spirit of the Olympic games. It is time to look back and ask ourselves if we have not forgotten, in our greed for victory, what the true virtues of sports are.

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