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There Are No Winners in Gymnastics Dispute

August 26, 2004

Re "Gymnastics Fans Sound Their Fury in Athens," Aug. 24: The treatment toward gymnast Paul Hamm this past week at Athens has been nothing short of shameful. It's one thing to be mired in a scoring controversy, but it's quite another to be booed after performing a nearly flawless routine because he knocked a favorite (Russian Alexei Nemov) out of medal contention. The audience's reaction was not only unfair to Hamm but to the other gymnasts who followed him. While South Korea's Yang Tae Young choked under the pressure of the moment, Hamm handled his routine with dignity and grace, proving himself to be the real champion.

It will become a sad day for the Olympics when a gold medal is awarded not to the person who performs the best but to the one who whines the loudest and garners the most protests.

Cheryl H. Long

Arcadia

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Re "Games Are No Place for Sour Grapes," letter, Aug. 23: Poor sportsmanship should not be confused with the truth. If we were to examine the scoring error, Romanian Ioan Suciu is correct that the U.S. got more than it deserved. It is sad that Hamm's talent should be marred by controversy. Hamm should, however, return the medal. There is no honor in tarnished gold; it's not even marketable.

Kim Jiramongkolchai

Woodland Hills

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So the Iraqi soccer players are angry at President Bush for invoking their name in his reelection campaign (Aug. 24). Perhaps they would rather lose a game and end up in the wood chipper administered by those wacky, lovable Hussein brothers, Uday and Qusay.

Steven Behm

Burbank

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