[EDITORIALS]Righting Olympic wrongsThe Olympic Games in Athens, already halfway through, are now being troubled by allegations of unfair judging.
In sports, the fairness of the judges’ decisions is as important as the fairness of the athletes’ competition and performances. What could be more heartbreaking to an athlete to have his or her reward denied through a bad call by a referee despite having given their best efforts and abiding by the rules and regulations? Bad calls are often made because of ignorance, bias and corruption of referees. Once a bad call is acknowledged as one, it is only right that the results of the contest should be set right. That would only be correct in the spirit of sportsmanship.
It is most unfair that Korea’s Yang Tae-young was denied the gold because of a judging error in the all-around gymnastics final. The judges gave Mr. Yang a score of 10 as his initial score in the parallel bars event but later they mistook the same technique he performed to a lower level one at the all-around gymnastics final and gave him a score of 9.9.
Prior to the gymnastics incident, Germany and France had questions over the judges’ call in the three-day equestrian event, and the United States and Austria argued over who won first place in the men’s 200-meter backstroke swimming competition.
Although judging errors are inevitable to some extent in the world of sports, it is outrageous that Mr. Yang should be denied a gold medal because of a scoring mistake on the part of the judges.
It is only right that the International Gymnastics Federation should reverse the decision when it has acknowledged the scoring mistake that cost Yang a tenth of a point on his parallel bars score. That made the difference between third place and first.
The gymnastic federation suspended three judges over the gymnastics ruling but said that it cannot reverse a decision. But there is a precedent of a ruling having been changed in the Olympics. In the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, Russia won the gold in a figure skating event, but because of allegations of a judging error, Canada was also given a gold medal.
We strongly urge the International Gymnastics Federation to reconsider its decision. The Korean delegation should also try harder and appeal to the International Olympics Committee as well, in order to return to Mr. Yang the gold medal that was denied to him.