Russians Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze were allowed to keep their medals but were forced to share the glory with the Canadians. The International Olympic Committee did not ask for the two Russians to relinquish their gold medals.
However, just a few weeks ago in Athens, American gymnast Paul Hamm was awarded the gold medal for the Men's All-around Gymnastic competition when a very similar event took place.
A scoring error by one of the judges mistakenly deducted a tenth of a point from a South Korean gymnast which allowed Hamm to leapfrog into the lead. This time, instead of awarding a second gold medal to the Korean, the I.O.C. asked Paul Hamm to give up his gold medal because of the error. Honestly, how can someone actually ask that question? I would have told the I.O.C. to shove it.
Paul Hamm had just experienced what was probably the most amazing day of his life. He wins an Olympic gold medal and gets to stand on the top podium while listening to the "Star Spangled Banner". Then the I.O.C. decided to act like the United Nations and ask the man to admit he didn't deserve his medal. The I.O.C. feels it would be the ultimate showing of sportsmanship for Hamm to hand over the medal. Come on, this request is shameful even for the I.O.C. Their leader Jacques Rogge should be the person who makes the decision. Instead, they weasel their way out of it by putting the onus on the innocent Paul Hamm.
What scares me is that even some American journalists agree with the Committee. Christine Brennan, the man-bashing feminist and liberal sports writer for U.S.A. Today, believes Hamm should give back the gold medal. Has everyone gone mad? Paul Hamm was not the person who made the mistake. Fact is, he should never have been put in this position and the I.O.C. should have made their own ruling. I have no problem with a second gold medal being awarded to the Korean; he deserves it. But, Paul Hamm in no way deserves the criticism that comes from this story. He became an Olympic hero in Athens and should be remembered for that and only that.
This is the problem with the Olympics. The beauty, grace and athleticism of the participants is increasingly getting swept aside by international politics and intra-Olympic intrigue.
Arriving in Davis County from the Midwest, Ernst is employed in the technology sector--and prefers to be surrounded by Republicans.