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Canada gymnastics team will have to pay for replays

10/14/2006 - Olympics

AARHUS, Denmark -- The Canadians put the new gymnastics
replay system to the test Saturday, and will get to pay … and pay
… and pay for the privilege.

Canada's team filed three protests at the end of its qualifying
round at the world championships, an action that led to a 15-minute
huddle around the replay screen, with technical committee president
Adrian Stoica holding court.

One of the inquiries was upheld, the other two were rejected.
Because the International Gymnastics Federation charges for
inquiries -- in an attempt to prevent frivolous ones -- Canada will
owe $800. That's $300 for the first bad one and $500 for the
second.

"That check will be in the mail. For a little while," Canadian
coach Tony Smith said.

The Canadians were able to smile about the results. They stood
in fifth place after the first day of qualifying, in good position
to make team finals and finish higher than ninth for the first time
at worlds.

Smith said he was satisfied with the results of the challenges.
The system was introduced last year in response to a number of
judging problems in the Athens Olympics, one of which involved
Canada's Kyle Shewfelt's vault.

Two of Canada's inquiries involved questions about start scores
on the pommel horse, one for David Kikuchi and the other for Adam
Wong. The other involved a 0.1-point deduction on Shewfelt for
stepping out of bounds on the floor exercise. Shewfelt is the
defending Olympic champion in that event.

"Maybe the sliver of his toenail was out. It was hard to
tell," Smith said. "But they said they didn't have conclusive
evidence to overturn it."

The bylaws don't call for out-of-bounds rulings to be reviewed,
but Stoica agreed to look at it anyway -- one of the many gray areas
that haven't been clearly defined in the new replay system.

Canada got a split on the other two decisions and Smith said he
wasn't upset. He said the one they lost was the result of the way
judges in his country had interpreted something in the new Code of
Points. FIG judges didn't use the same interpretation.

"We'll just tell our judges about it," Smith said. "The rules
have changed so much, you can't really blame them for the way
they're being interpreted."

FIG bylaws call for inquiries to be submitted almost immediately
after the routine in question. No team was more ready for this than
Canada. Smith and his fellow coaches had inquiry sheets filled out
before the meet, ready to hand them over, just in case.

"I thought they did a good job," Smith said. "They handled it
fairly. They watched it in slow motion. They showed it to us and
they explained it."