Americans want to be dealt with fairly. Paul Hamm had a superb performance on most of his routines and was marked accordingly. He was then awarded the gold medal for his achievements. Yang Tae-young of South Korea also had a superb performance and was awarded the bronze medal for his achievements.
But now the rest of the story. The judges made a .10 mistake with judging of the parallel bars and instead of earning the winning score, he was awarded third place. Put yourself in Yang's situation and ask, "Would I be upset?" Yes, who wouldn't be?
As good as Hamm finished, he did not earn the gold medal. If he were a true competitor, he would give the gold back.
-- Glenn Brunner, Sun City Center
Gymnastics is overexposed
There is excess. There is wretched excess. Then there is Olympic gymnastics and its television coverage. The basic structure of the gymnastics portion of the Olympics is itself rife with ridiculous, logically inconsistent redundancy. The duration of the gymnastics competition is triple that of what it could be. Note that each team's individual need only to perform each event once to determine the numbers from which medals can be given.
Then, of course, there is the TV coverage. Many, many interesting, rich competitions other than gymnastics take place during the Olympics. The viewing public is deprived of reasonable, representative coverage thereof.
The last straw is the gymnastics gala. We get TV coverage of something that is not even a competition.
-- Donald Barnhill, Trinity
Shelton dishes enlightenment
I am a African-American woman who has been reading the Times since I was a kid (during the Evening Independent and "colored page" days). Even so, I was never an avid sports reader. That is until I began reading Gary Shelton's coverage of the firing of Tony Dungy and the subsequent fiascoes.
Since then this columnist has taken us to the scandal of Salt Lake City, the caddie fighting for his life at the Masters, the mixed doubles in Wimbledon where a Muslim and a Jew came together as a team (just for the chance), the plight of the Afghanistan women and the politics of wrestling.
In his telling, he teaches. And he brings the layperson into sports on such a human level that the sport seems almost incidental. He gives us the stories behind the headlines. There is history learned where one least expects to find it: in a sports column.
Although you may not agree with what he writes (I have no doubt he upsets a lot of people and rustles many feathers), he sure as hell will make you read. He will make you think. And he'll make you want to read more.
-- Veronica Richardson, St. Petersburg
World Series win no big deal?
A team from the Tampa Bay area won a World Series championship and the story was relegated to page 12 of the Sports section. How sad. I guess it was more important to have a large picture of Mississippi State's new football coach on the front page instead.
Don't get me wrong; the Sunday Extra story was fascinating. It's just a shame that you couldn't have found room on the front page to include a picture or a few lines about the record-breaking exploits of a group of 13-14 year kids from the bay area. It's not like World Series titles are a dime a dozen around here.
-- Robert L. Barnes, Jr., Tampa
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