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August 29, 2004
The Olympics have finally ended. As Olympics go, this one was relatively free of scandal, which really means there were only a few scandals instead of so many that the whole two week time period falls under suspicion. It seems that the events that generate most controversy are the judged events. It is much more difficult to contest results in non-judged events.
Probably the most contentious issue this time around has been the medal awarded to the American gymnast Paul Hamm. He was awarded gold, but the South Korean team protested, saying that their athlete had his event improperly judged and that he deserved the gold medal. Their case is just about watertight and it seems that the Olympic Committee may have to strip Hamm of his medal. A Canadian athlete also lost out on a medal when judges did not remove the necessary marks from a vaulter who stumbled out of bounds after his vault. Again, their case is solid, though it seems less likely that anything will be done in this case. As I think about these events I’m reminded of the last Winter Olympics where there was a huge figure skating scandal as it became obvious that judges were in collusion and the entire competition had been tainted.
I can’t imagine dedicating years of my life to a task only to have my greatest accomplishment stolen from me by corrupt people. Imagine how these people must feel, having given years and even decades of blood, sweat and tears - so much sacrifice - only to unfairly lose out. That has got to hurt!
It makes me glad that the ultimate Judge is completely unbiased. When our time comes, He will judge completely fairly. And that’s a good thing since the stakes are so much higher than gold, silver, bronze and a few brief moments on adulation.