Michael Wilbon is wrong [Sports, Aug. 22]. Paul Hamm should turn in his gold medal, which he did not earn.

The judges' clerical error had no effect on how Paul Hamm or Yang Tae Young performed, and the correction can be made after the fact. Contrast this with the U.S. women's soccer team's second goal against Japan; a case can be made that it should have been disallowed. But the game would have been played very differently had the goal been taken back at the time of the play, so without an immediate correction, the call must stand.

Mr. Wilbon is right that for all their lives Mr. Hamm and Mr. Yang will look at their medals and know they are the wrong colors.

Turning in the gold medal should have been automatic. Mr. Hamm still can do the right thing. He earned a silver medal with a breathtaking comeback from disaster, and he should be able to look at it with great pride. The luster of his gold medal, on the other hand, will be tarnished forever.




I was offended by Sally Jenkins's Aug. 21 Sports column, about the South Korean "whining" about the scoring error that cost Yang Tae Young his gold medal. All the South Koreans were trying to do was right the judges' error. This is a case of math, not "honor," and no one is asking for a do-over. Fighting for what is fair is not "whining."


West Hills, Calif.


Contrary to what Sally Jenkins wrote, Gary Hall Jr. had no critical comments about U.S. swimmers. His criticism was of their coaches, who despite poor performances from an ailing Ian Crocker and the limited relay experience of Michael Phelps opted to use them rather than Mr. Hall, the world's fastest sprint swimmer.

In a preliminary relay heat, Mr. Hall posted a superior time to the marks of Mr. Crocker and Mr. Phelps. Even the gold-medal South African team said its chances were greatly improved by the omission of Mr. Hall. Were they whining, too?


Blythewood, S.C.