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Rogge wants judging to improve

8/27/2004

ATHENS, Greece -- The International Olympic Committee
rejected South Korea's request to have a duplicate gold medals
awarded in men's all-around gymnastics because of a scoring mistake
that gave the title to American Paul Hamm.

The IOC also turned down an official German petition for
duplicate gold medals following a judging error in three-day
equestrian competition.

"We are not going to give medals for so-called humanitarian or
emotional reasons,'' IOC president Jacques Rogge said Friday at a
breakfast meeting with reporters.

Rogge said the IOC will consult with international sports
federations to see how judging and scoring can be improved, and
that gymnastics has already agreed to revise its rules.

Hamm won the gold last week after judges incorrectly scored Yang
Tae-young's parallel bars routine, failing to give the South Korean
enough points for the level of difficulty. Yang ended up with the
bronze but would have won the competition if the scoring had been
correct.

The international gymnastics federation, known as FIG,
apologized for the mistake and suspended three judges, but said it
couldn't change the results under its rules.

Germany, meanwhile, lost two equestrian three-day event golds
after a technical judging mistake. France, Britain and the United
States won an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

"There was a huge Korean push to have a second medal, and a
huge German push to have a second medal, but we said no," Rogge
said. "You can't stop national Olympic committees from asking for
more medals; this will never stop. The IOC will be consistent and
say no."

Jae Soon-yoo, spokeswoman for the South Korean delegation, said
the Koreans met with Rogge on Tuesday.

"Dr. Rogge made it very clear that dual golds were not
acceptable by the IOC," she said. "Again, it's up to the FIG. He
made his principles very clear."

Two years ago at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, the IOC
awarded duplicate gold medals to Canadians Jamie Sale and David
Pelletier after a French judge said she was pressured to put a
Russian couple ahead of them in the pairs skating event.

Rogge reiterated that the judging cases in Athens are not
comparable to the Salt Lake scandal.

"The IOC is very consistent in its position: as long as the
federation gives a result, and as long as there is no proof of
manipulation or corruption, we will accept the result," he said.
"We accept that human error is unavoidable in judging and
refereeing."

But Rogge added the IOC will meet with the federations after the
games to consider ways of improving the judging. He noted that
boxing and figure skating have adopted computerized scoring systems
to eliminate subjective judging, and suggested other sports could
do the same.

"FIG already agreed they will have to change their way of
judging," Rogge said. "We'll discuss with them how."

On another issue, Rogge also said the IOC had been assured that
an Iranian judo athlete did not refuse to fight an Israeli
opponent.

Arash Miresmaeili, a favorite in the under 146-pound (66 kg)
class, had been quoted in official Iranian media as saying he
wouldn't compete against an Israeli. Iran does not recognize Israel
and bans any contact with the Jewish state.

Miresmaeili failed to meet the weight requirement for a bout
with Israel's Ehud Vaks and was disqualified. Iranian government
officials were quoted by state media as congratulating him for
declining to compete against the Israeli.