2004 OLYMPICS

washingtonpost.com's Bill Grant invites readers to give this column a score. But remember, he thinks scores are just goofy.
• Jeremy Wariner leads a U.S. sweep in the 400 meters with a time of 44 seconds, and is followed by Otis Harris and Derrick Brew.

• Crystl Bustos homers twice and Lisa Fernandez pitches a four-hitter to lead the United States to a 5-1 win over Australia for the softball gold medal.

• All-around gymnastics champion Carly Patterson wins her third medal, a silver in the balance beam.

• Heather O'Reilly scores in the ninth minute of overtime to give the United States a 2-1 win over World Cup champion Germany and a place in the gold-medal soccer game.

• "It means a lot. We all thought we could go out there and go 1-2-3. We did our best, we fought hard, and we all came out on top."
-- Wariner

• "It opens a whole Pandora's box of future challenges that aren't within the rules. What's the statue of limitations for grievances in sport now? There have to be rules."
-- Peter Vidmar, silver medalist in 1984, on awarding a second gold medal.

• "I truly believe in my heart that I am the Olympic all-around champion. I did my job, and I competed with pride and integrity."
-- gold medalist Paul Hamm

• Wrestler Rulon Gardner, the surprise U.S. champion from Sydney, makes his Athens debut.

• After disappointments in the past two Olympics, Moroccan runner Hicham El Guerrouj hopes this could be his day in the 1,500 meters.

• The upstart Iraqi soccer team plays Portugal for a chance to get to the gold medal game.


Judge Not, and Ye Shall Not Be Judged

By Bill Grant
washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Web Posted: Monday, Aug. 23, 2004; 7:32 p.m. EDT

ATHENS -- Enough with sports with judges.

There, I've said it and I feel much better.

___ A Second Gold? ___
Should a second gold medal in the men's all-around be awarded to Korea's Yang Tae Young?

Yes
No

   View results

Athens is abuzz with talk about Paul Hamm and his "tainted" gold medal. Will a second medal be awarded? Should one be awarded?

Excuse us, we're having really bad flashbacks to Salt Lake City and the scandal involving figure skating, which just so happens to be another event with judges.

You can watch the gymnastics and the diving and the synchronized swimming and listen to the commentators talk about bent legs and loose tucks. You can think that it's all very scientific. Well, it's not. Not the way that you can scientifically determine that the U.S. men edged the Aussies by 13-hundredths of a second in the 4x200-meter freestyle relay swim. Or the way you can scientifically determine that four men ran 100 meters in less than 10 seconds the other night.

Sure, there's bound to be some subjectivity. Is that really a yellow card? Did Allen Iverson really foul? But in soccer or basketball, or softball or tennis, there are also objective factors. Points are scored, goals are kicked. That's hard to ignore.

In gymnastics, it's all about the score and it's just goofy.

As for whether another medal should be given to the South Korean who everyone agrees got hosed by a mistake by judges, here's what former U.S. men's gymnastics coach Peter Kormann said: “You don’t get Olympic gold medals in a gumball machine. If you go back and change that because of a ... mistake, that changes the whole thing. That tarnishes everyone."

Let's think about that: Would Kormann be arguing the same way if Hamm had been deprived of the gold?

Not a Ladies' Man
South Korean women's field hockey coach Kim Sang-Ryul resigned Sunday after a 22-3 loss to Germany, then went on a rant about about how women are just not coachable. "Never again will I coach a women's team," Kim is quoted by Knight Ridder. "This is my last competition with this team. I have had enough. How can I train them? I can't get inside their heads." We're thinking Kim might have to turn in his NOW membership card.

Wrong Place, Wrong Time
A 24-year-old New York man has to be the unluckiest guy in the world. He was busted for trying to sell 78 tickets he purchased on the Internet for $18 each at the inflated price of $122 each. At the same time, ticket brokers run amok and sell hundreds of tickets at Monastiraki Square, a major gathering place downtown, and even at the main train station leading into the Olympic park.

A Row in Rowing
Sally Robbins, a member of Australia's eight crew, is taking a lot of heat after she pulled up lame in Sunday's 2,000-meter final. About 400 meters from the finish line and with no chance of winning a medal, an exhausted Robbins slumped and let her oar dip into the water. She says teammates refused to talk to her and some even threatened to throw her into the water. The worse was yet to come. "It appears as though Robbins has committed the greatest crime there is in honest sport," wailed Sydney's Daily Telegraph. "She quit."

Food Fight Continues
We had no winners in our Foods of the Olympians contest. Some readers were low; many more were high, very high. We'll keep it open for another day or two. Mail your guess, your name and your e-mail address to Olympic Food.

From the E-mail Bag
• Tracy Seffers of Charles Town, W. Va., writes: "I have never seen such an ungracious sourpuss of an Olympic athlete as [Russian gymnast] Svetlana Khorkina. Her skeletal ectomorphic frame stalks and sulks from the performance floor to the pit, her cheeks drawn and pursed in fits of pique. She is quoted sneering at the 'mechanical tumbling' of the younger, more compact and muscular gymnasts like [American Carly] Patterson, and insisting that the Olympics ought to be entirely about 'grace, elegance, and beauty" (presumably her own bulemic version). Grace? Beauty? Blecch! All I can think of is my good Yiddishe Bubbie, yelling, 'Eat! Eat! Mein Gott, just look at you!'  . . ."

• Marci Love of the District takes exception to a cheap shot at Philadelphia in Monday's Snippets: "As someone who spent years in Philadelphia before moving to D.C., I can say unequivocally that Philadelphia beats D.C . (and a lot of other cities) hands down in (1) the cost of living, (2) restaurants, (3) theater, and (4) community feel. Everyone I know who has spent time in Philadelphia has been impressed, but many more people don't want to spend time there precisely because of statements like the one you wrote. Such statements perpetuate a negative stereotype that -- for at least 10 years -- has not been deserved." Well, Marci, it's like this: We're still holding a grudge over the Body Bag Game between the Redskins and Eagles on Nov. 12, 1990. We do like the cheesesteak sandwiches in Philadelphia, however.

• Finally, Kirk Adams of Laurel adds this on Hamm: "Someone needs to tell Hamm that he lost, he got beat, he didn't make a miracle comeback to win, he made a truly great effort to move from 12th to second. Yeah, he gets to keep the gold on a technicality, but he really should drop the "I'm the best in the world" attitude. Clearly, he's the second best in the world. If he wanted to be a class act, he should back the protest and volunteer to give back the gold in exchange for the silver he really earned."

E-mail Us
We'd like to hear what you are thinking about the Olympics, and we'll even publish the few that don't make us blush, gag or speed-dial our lawyers. Keep 'em clean and keep 'em short and remember to put "Olympics" in the subject line.

As always, we want to thank our colleagues at Reuters and the Associated Press for contributing to today's report.

© 2004 The Washington Post Company

After her final performance in the Olympic arena, Svetlana Khorkina stormed off into retirement in a huge sulk. (Adrian Dennis -- AFP)

You Write
The Caption
Submit a caption by 6 p.m. EDT. We'll pick our favorite and post it.