C'mon Hamm, cough up the Gold!

[Moderator Hat ON]

*::The Great Debates Moderator takes a -.2 deduction for a sports question and a -.1 deduction for lack of empirical or logical arguments from a base of 9.5 debatability, which shifts the thread into the IMHO category. The crowd murmurs questioningly at the score but quickly settles down to await the next thread.:: *

[Moderator Hat OFF]

Question for the OP:

In the 1985 World Series, the St. Louis Cardinals were leading the Series 3-2 and the sixth game 1-0 in the ninth inning. A Royals player hit a groundball to first base, and was called safe at first by umpire Don Denkinger. Subsequent replays showed that player, Jorge Orta, so clearly out that the Cardinals might have had time to relay the ball around the infield three times and return it to first before Orta arrived at the bag.

Had Denkinger made the correct call, and Orta been called out, the Cardinals would have almost certainly won the World Series. As it happened, however, the Royals rallied to win that game and ultimately the Series.

Should Kansas City have ceded (or cede) its title to St. Louis? Or are mistaken (as opposed to corrupt or malicious) decisions by officials simply a part of the game that everyone agrees may affect them beforehand?

Say it as much as you want to but they aren’t getting rid of gymnastics, diving, ice skating, etc., etc. :stuck_out_tongue:

Oh, i’m under no illusion about that. And, FWIW, i really like watching the gymnastics.

But the subjectivity of the scoring means that controversies like this will be an ongoing part of those sports, and that, even when the judges aren’t making egregious errors, the winning margins are still likely to be well within the statistical margin for error.

You say this in every Olympic thread mhendo. Would that apply to sports where there are refs and umpires? Because refs and umpires fuck up calls all the time and result in games swaying one way or the other.

And why is it so awful that the judges changed their scores based on the audience reaction? Maybe the head guy who oversees all the games had the same “WTF??!?!?!” reaction and would have intervened even without the audience participation, especially if he remembers other past scandals, like the ice skating one. Does he really need people questioning the gymnastics judges, calling for investigations, because maybe the Malaysian judge was instructed for whatever reason to topple Alexi? You can’t know why the Boss called for a review of the scores, all you can do is speculate.

I’m sure you hate the ireview option in football too. Those bastard refs, changing their calls! Affecting the outcome of the game! GRRR! There’s no dignity left in the sport!

And I don’t agree that Hamm should give back his medal. He has no objective proof that the Korean guy earned it. None whatsoever. If everybody in the world knew for a solid fact that the Korean deserved the gold, based on the points, then maybe I could see the argument that Hamm should be a “class act”. But just because the Korean is a poor-sport and a cry baby on top of it doesn’t mean that Hamm has to do shit.

As far as Hamm and his gold medal is concerned – no, he shouldn’t give it back (though offering to share is a nice gesture).

The Koreans were supposed to check the numbers and protest within the assigned time. They did not. Bad luck, but it’s ultimately the Korean’s fault. All sports have rules about protesting judges decisions, and any coach worth his salary knows these backwards and forwards.

In no way is the issue Hamm’s fault. He didn’t cheat and his score is perfectly legitimate. This has nothing in common with the figure skating scandal, when the judges admitted collusion. This was a mistake on the part of the judges, but the Koreans had a chance to realize the mistake and prevent the problem.

It’s no different than Roberto Di Vicenzo’s 1968 Masters scorecard. The rules are clear, and it’s just plain poor coaching that the Korean didn’t win.

Sure they do. I’m not opposed to the subjectivity, per se. In fact, there’s something quite reassuring about the human-ness of officials making errors.

The difference, of course, is that the judges in gymnastics get to both judge the performances and make up the scores. Sure, a football referee might err on a call, but once the call is decided there is no debate about whether a touchdown is worth 6 points or 5.5 or 7.2. I know that there are supposed to be manadatory, fixed deducations for certain errors in gymnastics, but the range of scoring shows that these are only part of the story.

Another thing that irks me about gymnastics is that they have set up a system that is so subjective, and yet have the gall to measure the scores down to the thousandth of a point. If you’re going to have a subjective scroring system, fine. But at least have the courage to admit that attempting to reduce such subjectivities to the level of thousands of a point is a completely pointless exercise that makes the whole system seem not just subjective, but almost completely arbitrary.

Are you serious? Would you be happy to apply your logic to NFL or MLB? The home team would walk away with almost every game. Hell, even the Arizona Cardinals and the Kansas City Royals might actually manage .500 seasons.

Maybe he would have. But that would have been changing the scores based on his own knowledge of the sport, not based on audience reaction. Quite a different thing.

True. I don’t know. And if the scores were changed due to the official’s own assessments, then that’s not so bad, although it still leaves open the question of how they came to be so fucked up in the first place.

But if they were changed due to crowd pressure, that’s inexcusable. It’s bad enough (but probably unavoidable) that they have such a subjective system. It’s orders of magnitude worse if they don’t even have enough confidence in the integrity of their own system to defend it against a screaming bunch of non-experts in the stands.

But at least when football officials review a call, they do so after reviewing slow-motion replays of the incident in question, and only overturning the call if they feel there is incontrovertible evidence. In fact, NFL rules state explicitly that the evidence for overturning an on-field call must be clear and undisputable.

As far as i could tell from the coverage last night, the decision to change the marks awarded to Nemov did not come after any reviewing of his actual performance. In all the time that the officials were discussing the case, i never once saw them looking at a TV replay of Nemov’s routine. And none of the news articles i’ve read mentions any visual review of the performance. If you know any different, i’d love to hear about it.

Never said he should.

So subjectivity is fine in making the initial decision, but when that decision falls into question you suddenly believe that we need to find objective criteria for making a decision? Very interesting.

A critical difference there being that Denkinger’s call was merely one play in a seven game series in which Kansas City outscored St. Louis 28 to 13. While it’s quite true to say St. Louis may well have won without that call, it was one of hundreds of plays, and had the correct call been made it’s still not guaranteed that St. Louis would have won that game - as a matter of fact, had the inning progressed after that point as it did, Kansas City still ties the game as has a chance to score again and win, since Iorg’s single would still have driven in the tying run. (For some reason people now remember that there were two out when the Royals won, but there was only one out.)

Furthermore, Denkinger’s call was a bad judgment call. The Hamm controversy concerns a scoring ERROR. The equivalent would be if Denkinger had made the right call and St. Louis had actually won Game Six 1-0, but the official scorer accidentally entered a score of 2-1 for Kansas City and then MLB said “Well, too bad. It was an error, but that’s the way the score was recorded, so Kansas City wins the World Series.” It’s asinine to think any sport OUTSIDE the Olympics would allow such a ridiculous thing to happen.

This is an top of the rather obvious biased judging, in a sport that used to be judged reasonably fairly but is now approaching the status of figure skating. A can see disagreeing on whether someone shifted his hand far enough on the bar to merit a deduction, but when someone FALLS DOWN and the rules say “falling down is a .5 deduction” and the deduction isn’t taken, you have to wonder about what scam might be taking place.

Hey hey hey no need to get all crazy on us.

Remeber these judges have been wacky the entire Olympics…

From PHIL SHERIDAN - Philadelphia Inquirer:


No, not quite. Due to the subjectivity of the calls, there is a time-limit imposed for protesting decisions and scores. You can’t do it ten, twenty, thirty minutes after the fact or the next day. And you certainly can’t call for a review of one set of judges but ignore the other set of judges and their criteria. Hamm shouldn’t have to defend his medal because the Korean says so. The judges made their decision and at the time, all the competitors accepted that decision by standing on the podium without protest.

To me, it’ slike when you get a pay check that has the wrong amount on it. If you cash the check, you accept and agree to the amount. If you accept the Bronze medal, you agree with the judges. There’s no going back and saying “Oh no! I don’t mean it!” When that’s the case, I do believe it’s appropriate to be more objective. Just like in instant replay, the refs don’t rely on their memories to change the call. They study the play over and over and over from various different angles. But the Korean guy doesn’t want that. He just wants his scores adjusted because, again, he says so. Paul Hamm shouldn’t be forced to accept that decision without at least the use of a full review (I know you aren’t saying that mhendo, but the OP is.)

The problem is, right now, they don’t have confidence in their own integrity. They just dismissed 3 judges do to the all-around SNAFU, and now the official (who oversees all the judging and scores) is faced with another possible scandal. Can they afford to dismiss another 2 judges and garner that sort of publicity, or would it have been better to nip it in the bud? Would it be wise to allow Canada to get sucked into another media blitz based on scoring? Maybe the pressure from the audience added to that feeling, but they already sacrificed their integrity in these games in the eyes of many, and maybe even the official’s as well.

I already posted this in another place, but I’ve seen articles claiming that Paul Hamm’s fall during the vault should have been deducted more points than he actually was. I only bring this up to add more fuel to the fire.
Apparently the Korean coaches (this is what they say, so who knows how reliable it is) didn’t want to file the complaint at the time because they were afraid it would adversely affect the judging at the next event. I guess this is further proof that the judging is easily swayed and everyone knows it.
I say, just give it up for both sides. Who really knows who won? Paul Hamm can go through life knowing he won gold through hard work and a little bit of luck, and the Korean guy can think of himself as the real, unrecognized champ.

The judges don’t score to the thousandth. The judges score to the hundredth and the thousandth spot is used in the event of a tie to the hundredth place. If it’s a tie to the thousandth place there’s a formula that’s used that from what I gather is based on who got more higher scores, or something (Tim Daggett half-explained it a couple times but I didn’t quite get it).

Flawed analogy. You’ve agreed beforehand how much you’ll be paid and your cashing the check (say because you’re broke) doesn’t relieve your employer of the obligation to pay you. One doesn’t go into Olympic competition owed a medal, of any color.

IIRC, the Malaysian judge gave Alexei Nemov a 9.6. Now, we can say these scores are subjective, BUT there are standard point values for each deduction. The small step Nemov took on the dismount has a mandatory deduction value, but it sure ain’t -.4. All I have to go on was what I saw and what the commentator said, and both of us saw an outstanding performance with virtually no errors. I highly doubt that the Malaysian judge was able to justify his assessment when confronted, and lo, he was the one who raised his score.

So really, WTF? How does someone make a decision that bad so publicly, when so much is at stake for these athletes? Something was definitely fishy about the whole thing. I suspect that the overseer of the scoring was in total agreement with the fan reaction, not that the fan reaction caused the reassessment. I also think that Paul Hamm did not deserve the score he got, considering at one point he almost let go of the bar. It was just wrong.

OTOH, Svetlana Khorkina is delusional if she thinks she did a better job in the all-around than Carly Patterson. No way-- Khorkina looked weak, stiff, and miserable by comparison. Carly deserved her win, so that wasn’t part of the alleged Great Pro-American Gymnastics Scoring Conspiracy, IMO.

My point is, if you’re going to protest a score or a call, you do it immediately. Not at some indiscriminate point in the future. If the Bronze was awarded to him in error, he needed to be aware of it at that moment and do something about it, instead of tacitly agreeing with the judges by accepting it. When Piersol was disqualified in error he didn’t just shrug and let it slide and decide to complain the next morning. They complained immediately and got the problem taken care of.

Just FTR:

I don’t think any of the problems that we’ve seen at these Olympics are the result of any sort of Pro-American conspiracy. They’re the resault of an inherently flawed scoring system, exacerbated by some particularly poor performances by the judges in question.

I agree. Canada’s been having its share of bad luck at these Games, too. Kyle Shewfelt’s vault, the boxing match scule mentioned, plus a whole lot of non-judge-related bad luck, like our rowers leaving their lane and Perdita Felicien falling and taking out the Russian in the lane next to her.

But gymnastics judging needs an overhaul, like figure skating. Both sports are hemorrhaging credibility.

I’m with mhendo, subjective athletic competition is not sport. From the American side, the most egregious Olympic judging error was in the Korean Olympics in boxing; from Canadian, probably ice dancing; from the Russian, probably last night; from the Korean maybe the all around (not that they haven’t complained about other decisions, and maybe they know about the .2 deduction that was missed, I don’t know).

The problem is that in any activity without a completely subjective decision criteria, someone will always feel they got shafted. There is no “real fair”, there is only the perception of fair. Home crowds, human preferences, momentary inattention and what have you will always influence judging “unfairly”. Who is the best ballet dancer of the video recording era? There is no good answer to such questions. If you enter competitions with subjective scoring, you have to expect to feel shafted occassionally.

And it is ludicrous to think that any subjective criteria is valid to thousandths of a point, even with averaging. Some Olympics back two US swimmers were differentiated by one thousandth of a second, so one got silver and one got gold. Swimming officals realized that even though the timing system permits such accuracy, the timing results are not that accurate. Hell, the judgement of when someone’s start started is not that accurate. So they scrapped the thousandths of a second timing and went to hundredths.

I can see how you they can judge to tenths - that is one part in a hundred (scores running to 10). But judging gymnastics to the hundreths implies a single judge can assign a one part in a thousand difference. Yeah right. And, mathematically, to average a set of scores increases the accuracy by the square root of the number of scroes. So, are there 100 judges to buy you another factor of ten? It is just crap.

This is starting to remind me of the Venus Williams tie-break screwup at Wimbledon. In both cases, the situation sucks and we don’t know what would’ve happened had the calls been made correctly. But ultimately the burden is on the athelete and coaching staff to pay attention and be on the ball if the officials blow it. Venus apparently knew that, and the South Koreans don’t want to admit it.

pepper, it’s well established that what the Koreans are disputing is not the judgment call of the score, but that the score was incorrectly calculated based on a technical error - beginning with a start value of 9.9, rather than 10. It’s not apparent that the rule even covers such an occurrence.

This “he accepted the bronze so you shouldn’t complain” argument holds no water. If the scores were not calculated correctly, there shouldn’t even have to BE a protest.

SlowMind, actually, the worst ripoff of a Canadian athlete was the infamous Shawn O’Sullivan-Frank Tate boxing match at the 1984 Los Angeles games, when the judges handed Tate a victory after O’Sullivan had beaten the living bejeezus out of him; famously, Tate was given the second round despite being beaten into two standing 8 counts and landing no solid punches at all. It was quite obviously fixed. It was every bit as dreadful a call as any of the Seoul matches - but since Frank Tate was American, the U.S. media dropped the story.