Paul Hamm – Olympic Champion 2004 ***
I’ve questioned his victory as often as anyone.
But Bruno Grandi has come around:
“If I were eating a plate of spaghetti with him, I’d say ‘Paul Hamm is the Olympic champion,'” Bruno Grandi said Tuesday, twirling his hands as though he were spinning pasta with a fork.
That was news to Hamm, who conceded it’s the first time he has heard anything amounting to a rapprochement from Grandi, the federation president who suggested Hamm share his all-around gold medal with a South Korean gymnast after a judging mistake in Athens.
“Wow,” Hamm said when told of the statement in a phone interview. “Oh, no, no. It’s never been spoken about publicly. I really can’t be more pleased with it. It’s amazing he feels that way. I’m shocked.”
Two years ago, the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) admitted a scoring error was made in the men’s all-around in Athens but repeatedly said it would not change the results. The error came on South Korean Yang Tae-young’s second-to-last event, and he wound up with the bronze.
The Koreans held up Grandi’s comment that Hamm should share the medal as acknowledgment of a mistake, forcing the American to defend his gold all the way to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Two more judging fiascos in Athens, involving Russian Alexei Nemov’s routine on high bar finals and Canadian Kyle Shewfelt’s vault on the same day, reinforced FIG’s problems. …
“I’m actually really happy,” Hamm said. “I think it’s great. I can’t really be more pleased than actually being vindicated as the Olympic champion by Mr. Grandi.”