Friday, August 27, 2004

Legal Back-Flips

My sister Ellen, who is a gymnast, added the following comments about the Paul Hamm controversy (see my prior post here). I’ve boldfaced the parts that jumped out at me.
[E]ven if Yang's scoring had been done correctly, it wouldn't have guaranteed him the gold.

a. Like Glen said, he actually violated the rule about 3-holds (more on that later if anyone cares) which would have gotten him 0.2 points off. But the judges missed it.

b. Say the element that gave Yang his 0.1 point gets accounted for by the judges. That doesn't mean he'll get the entire 0.1 for it. The judges can take the entire 0.1 back from him if he executes the skill poorly enough or in such a way that it isn't counted as the skill that is worth 0.1. They could even take more than 0.1 away from him. For example, if I put an element worth 0.4 in my routine, but then I don't execute it correctly I could only receive 0.2. If I do it so poorly that it's mistaken for a different trick or a "non-trick", then it's 0.4 off. If I fall or wobble so many times I get a deduction worth a fall taken, I get 0.5 off -- more than I added by trying it. I would have been better off if the judges just didn't acknowledge that I attempted that element.

In addition to all this, grievances are supposed to be made within one rotation of the event. Yang's start value was flashed before he began, and if he had a problem with it his coaches should have had a complaint all ready to hand over as soon as his routine was done.

Incidentally, he did better on the routine started at a 9.9 than he did the previous night when he was starting at 10.0. And so he didn't complain... until Paul Hamm got the gold.
All this further confirms my opinion that retrospective refereeing is a bad idea. Better to let scores stand (subject to a specified challenge procedure like the one Yang failed to use) than to go back and try to re-judge everything based on the videotape.

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