Hamm to keep his gold medal



Three judges were suspended, but the results will not be changed.
ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Paul Hamm thought his fantastic finish was too good to be true. Maybe he was right.
The International Gymnastics Federation ruled Saturday that Yang Tae-young was unfairly docked a tenth of a point in the all-around final, costing him the gold medal that ended up going to Hamm. The South Korean got the bronze instead.
The federation suspended three judges, but it said the results will not be changed in a case that brought back memories of the figure skating scandal at the Salt Lake City Games in 2002.
Will ask for gold
Although there are no signs of impropriety by the gymnastics judges, the South Koreans will now ask the Court of Arbitration for Sports to determine if Yang deserves a gold medal.
"We want obvious mistakes to be corrected," said Jae Soon-yoo, an official with the South Korean delegation.
Hamm came all the way back from 12th place with two routines remaining Wednesday night to become the first American man to win the Olympic all-around.
He won the meet over South Korea's Kim Dae-eun by 0.012, the event's closest margin ever. Yang was 0.049 behind Hamm.
The 0.100 points deducted from Yang's start value in parallel bars -- the difficulty of the routine -- was the difference between third and first. Without the mistake, Yang would have won gold, Hamm silver and Kim bronze.
Teams can make an "inquiry" about a start value, but it must be done no later than one event after the routine in question, according to gymnastics rules.
Protest not in time
South Korea failed to lodge a protest in time, so the scoring could not be changed, said Philippe Silacci, spokesman for the federation, known as FIG. But Jae said the South Koreans did question the scoring as soon as the routine was over and were told by the judges to file a protest letter after the meet.
"They said that was the best they could do right there on the spot," she said. "It was a real basic injustice in judging practices."
At the Sydney Olympics, American Blaine Wilson was awarded an extra tenth of a point on pommel horse after his coach filed a protest, claiming his starting value was too low. The change didn't affect the medals; Wilson finished sixth in the all-around.
No asterisk for Hamm
USA Gymnastics president Bob Colarossi compared Wednesday's mistake to a bad call in football that wasn't discovered until after the game. He insisted FIG's decision should not put an asterisk on Hamm's gold medal.
"Paul Hamm's performance the other night was absolutely incredible," Colarossi said. "It's unfortunate the judges didn't have the right start value."
Yang received a start value of 9.9 on parallel bars. But after reviewing a tape of the all-around, FIG officials ruled he should have gotten a 10, the start value he received for the same routine in team qualifying and finals.
With the extra 0.10, he would have finished with 57.874 points and defeated Hamm by 0.051.
Matthieu Reeb, general secretary of CAS, talked to the South Korean team about an appeal, which was expected to be filed today.

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