THE OFFICIAL MISTAKE

August 29, 2004

AFTER EXAMINING VIDEOTAPE of Yang Tae Young's parallel bars routine in the men's all-around, the International Gymnastics Federation announced last Saturday that the start value should have been 10.0 instead of 9.9, and three judges had been suspended for the error: George Beckstead of the U.S., Oscar Reyes of Colombia and Benjamin Bango of Spain. However, because South Korea didn't protest the scoring before the end of the rotation as federation rules require, no change was made in the results. Yang finished third, .049 behind gold medalist Paul Hamm.

Start values are determined by the degree of difficulty in a gymnast's routine--what elements he actually performs, not what he submits on paper beforehand. Disputes over start values are common. And while it sounds easy to rectify the mistake by adding .10 of a point to Yang's score based on the video review, giving Yang the win by .051 of a point, doing so would open a Pandora's box. In looking at the tape, U.S. coaches say that Yang did four holds in his parallel bar routine, one more than allowed. The mandatory deduction for that is .20 of a point. "I feel bad for Young," Hamm said, "but if you get into video review in this sport, it's just going to get ugly." --E.M.S.

COLOR PHOTOBILL FRAKES Paul Hamm and Yang Tae Young

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)