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Monday, September 27, 2004
Paul Hamm, the Court, and Election 2000 Revisited

A South Korean gymnast's bid to get an Olympic gold medal from an international court that he couldn't get from Olympic judges looks quite childish to me. Is it just because I've been parenting multiple children for a number of years?

Since before the second child could talk, I have encountered a fairly steady stream of children coming to tattle on a sibling because of some real or supposed violence or injustice. "He kicked me and pushed me!" "But she hit me really hard first." It turns out there are two sides to all these stories, neither of them reliable. Typically, neither child leaves my Solomon-like parenting presence content with the result.

I think the international tribunal to which Korean gymnast Yang Tae-young has appealed should sit him down - preferably on international television - and watch with him a videotape of the entire routine. His claim is that the judges erroneously started him one-tenth of a point low, by underrating the difficulty of his routine. As far as I know, this is true. I think the tribunal should agree. I think they should then point out to the spoiled brat and his enablers worldwide that the judges also missed a two-tenths point mandatory deduction because of a mistake in his routine.

The rules say that the Korean appeal came far too late to be considered. But the rules don't matter, right, if the outcome is unfair? The rules also say that the judges missing the routine's fault is an uncorrectable error. If we're forgetting the rules, let's forget that one, too. Why not?

The tribunal should give the spoiled fellow a choice: keep his silver medal and zip his lips, or have 0.1 added and 0.2 subtracted from his score, after which he doesn't medal at all. Live with the rules and keep your silver medal, or trash the rules and lose your medal altogether. However he might choose, it would be interesting to see if a one-year suspension from competition would help him understand that his sport is bigger than he is, and that childish, unsportsmanlike whining damages the whole sport and the entire Olympiad.

Then, once he's learned that lesson, he could hire himself out as a moral tutor to Albert Gore, Jr. Then Gore, in turn, having learned the difference between reality and useful partisan fantasy, could labor to persuade his party that the 2000 presidential election wasn't stolen after all, and wasn't decided by the Supreme Court, either. Then maybe a once-noble party could look forward to a future of renewed respectability.


Speaking of Democrats, Senator Edward Kennedy is clearly channeling the late Baghdad Bob. Does he know his talking points are coming from Al Jazeera? Meanwhile, John Kerry seems to be channeling the (politically) defunct Howard Dean. No wonder Democratic Senator Zell Miller preferred to speak at the Republican convention!

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