Olympic Gymnastics Discussion (spoilers)

First off I must say:

Paul Hamm: Wow! Just, wow.

First the Men’s team event ends with the Japanese doing one top notch high bar routine after another to take the gold.

Then the Romanian women nail one floor exercise after another to take the gold.

And now we have Paul Hamm nailing down his high bar routine minutes after a vault so disastrous that if the Wide World of Sports were still on, it could have replaced the ski jumper as the “agony of defeat” visual.

Yeah, four or five other gymnasts made big mistakes to open the door for him, but those final two performances were amazing given the circumstances.

So far every competition has ended with the final team or performer hitting big scores in the final event to bring the gold home; nobody has backed into a gold.

Kerri Strug? Mary Lou Retton? Pikers. The only way Hamm’s comeback could have been more amazing is if he’d done his high bar routine with a broken leg and still landed the dismount.

I read about the final before it was shown last night. Still, it was fun to watch. I wanted to see how bad that vault really was. It was funny to hear the announcers writing him off and still amazing that he shot back from twelfth place.

Any thoughts on the Korean’s comment that he was, in fact, disappointed and a little angry? Was he angry at the judges for Hamm’s marks, his marks, or angry about something else? It’s certainly an honest emotion, but not one that’s usually spoken.

I think Kerri’s was sprained, does that count?

I was literally squealing in my apartment last night. What an amazing (and emotional) roller coaster those six rotations were for Paul! Loved the shot of Morgan Hamm in the stands after the final number went up.

Let me preface this by saying I am happy that Hamm won, he certainly worked hard enough for it.

However, I don’t think he should have won. The Koreans were flawless and consistent, not Hamm. Yes, his last two rotations were amazing, but I don’t think someone should be able to win the gold after having fallen.

I don’t think it’s fair that Hamm won the gold either.

The difference between Hamm and the 2nd place gymnast was only 0.012. That’s almost a statistical round-off error, meaning that the 1st and 2nd place gymnasts had virtually identical scores. In that case, I’d say a fair tie-breaker would be picking the gymnast who didn’t fall on his ass :D… I mean, the one who made the fewer mistakes.

Even the commentators were a bit shocked at the outcome. The female commentator/host summed it up best with “I am speechless.” I think she didn’t say anything because she didn’t have anything good to say…
The judges were too generous with Hamm and way too strict with the other

He didn’t just fall, he stumbled into the judges’ table. I agree with you on this.

Well, according to the scoring of the professional judges, over the course of all the events, Paul Hamm was the one who made the fewest mistakes. It just so happened that one of them was egregious.

Nah. She was “speechless” because it was such an unprecedented, improbable, and incredible achievment. His high bar routine was flawless. Based on his score, a number of judges likely gave him a perfect 10 (assuming the difficulty of the routine justified a 10).
Now to be fair, I confess to being a little biased because the Hamm twins are local gymnasts. (If only Chelsie Memmel would’ve made the team, which she would have if not for a broken bone in her foot in March, then a gymnast from my daughter’s gym would’ve been in the Olympics – that would’ve been cool.)

It wouldn’t be gymnastics without a scoring controversy! Anyhow, what I’ve read is that a fall is a fall is a fall. It’s .5 off your score whether you fall in the most graceful manner possible or if you tumble into the next zip code.

I think what was the most memorable about Paul’s win was how he kept shaking his head “no” in disbelief. I was really proud for him. I thought that was touching.

By the way, the commentators were babbling about someone contesting a score, and then just stopped in the middle of their story. Is it still be contested, or has it been resolved?

I thought the win was deserved. Yes, he fell (and did it spectacularly. If you’re going to fall, you might as well fall big), but he was appropriately dinged for not sticking his dismount. Although the Koreans didn’t have any mistakes that were that visible, the mistakes were there. They got consistant good, even great, scores. They just weren’t good enough. All along they said it would come done to the little things like a step on the landing (1/10 of a point) or legs apart, or bent knees, etc. And that’s exactly what it did come down to.

Can anyone tell me why there were no Japanese in the All-Around competion> Did none of them qualify? You’d think after winning Gold they’d have at least 1 or 2 in there.


Didn’t one of the commentators mention falling to the side being a worse penalty? In the overheard replay of the vaults, you could see a set of parallel lines going out from the horse (is it called that in the men’s vault?). My impression was that a fall forward, staying within those lines, would be less of a deduction than if you went outside that landing zone, as Hamm did.

Although that being said, some google searches through gymnastics rules has found no such mention. I might’ve misheard or misunderstood the commentary.

There was at least one. The guy with the shaggy hair had a disastrous floor exercise and they didn’t show him again that I remember.

Has there been any word that the floor was extra sproingy or anything? So many of the male athletes couldn’t seem to keep themselves in bounds and I think they said that they didn’t practice on the apparatus. And, while I’m at it, doesn’t the word apparatus look really silly?

sciguy - No, I think you’re right. Hamm’s score on that disasterous vault was something like 9.127. It was a very difficult vault with a start value of 9.9-10. He lost .5 points for the fall. According to the comentators, his position in the air was very good, so I’m sure another big part of the deduction was for stepping out of bounds, just as there’s a 1/10 deduction for stepping out of bounds on the floor exercise.


jsgoddess - I must’ve missed him. There were a lot of floor exercise guys stepping out of bounds - I think they had a very short time for what they called podium practice, practicing on the actually competition apparatuses (apparati?). And personally, I think all the Japanese men looked like they could use some really good styling products for their hair. They all looked dry and dead and like they’d been cut with a lawnmower.


Like other posters have said & also judging from the wording on this site (I looked specifically at the “Judges” section), it appears that the crux of the matter in terms of further reducing scores for falling is whether the gymnast actually falls off the apparatus itself, as opposed to falling as s/he tries to stick a landing.

Do I think Paul Hamm should have won the gold medal? Yes, I do, judging from what I heard: I noticed that the one thing those blasted NBC commentators kept reiterating was that little errors can rack up to screw the gymnast who makes them. Yes, Hamm made one doozy of an error, but apparently that deduction was made up for both by the fact that his other events were spectacular & by the fact that other gymnasts kept losing tenths that eventually added up.

That might have been a problem. I seem to recall that many of the women gymnasts also had some problems staying in-bounds.

My daughter, who was a gymnast and is now a coach, says that floors do vary quite a bit in “sproinginess”, and it does make a difference. In all meets I’ve seen, the athletes get a chance to warm-up on the floor they’ll be competing on to help mitigate the potential problems. However, given that the Olympic gymnasts warm-up on a different floor…? I don’t know. After all, they are Olympic quality athletes so this shouldn’t necessarily be a huge problem for them.

Well, this particular fellow was the most hedgehoggy. I’m trying to find a picture of him.

Ah, Hiroyuki Tomita was the guy, I think. The pictures aren’t very clear.

I am nothing more than an reasonably educated spectator so I can’t comment on whether or not Mr. Hamm should have won.

But oh my oh my was it wonderful television! It was one of the best sports competitions I’ve ever seen. I rewound my PVR and watched it four times just because I was so astonished at the way it played out.


That vault is a classic!!

:eek: :smiley: