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August 29, 2004 6:43 pm

South Korean gymnast appeals to arbitrator

By GREG BOECK

USA TODAY

ATHENS, Greece - Paul Hamm makes his post-Olympic debut Tuesday in Uncasville, Conn., in the wake of renewed controversy over his all-around gold medal.

On Sunday, South Korean gymnast Yang Tae-young filed an appeal with the international Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), asking the independent panel to direct the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) to change the results of the men's individual all-around. CAS named a three-member panel to consider the matter in Lausanne, Switzerland, but no hearing date has been set.

``There are disputes between the FIG, (Korean Olympic Committee) and the USOC, so in the end the international federation should solve the whole situation,'' said Korean spokeswoman Jae Soon-yoo.

Yang won bronze in the all-around Aug. 18 and Hamm took the gold. FIG later ruled a scoring error would have given Yang the gold but declined to change the results after the fact.

Monday morning, Hamm is scheduled to appear on NBC's ``Today ``with Jim Sensenbrenner, a Republican congressman from Hamm's home state of Wisconsin.

Last week Sensenbrenner issued a statement criticizing FIG and threatening hearings in September of the House Judiciary Committee, which he chairs and which has oversight responsibility of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

USOC spokesman Darryl Seibel said the all-around final is a closed matter.

On Friday, the federation, in a letter entitled Fair Play, asked Hamm to voluntarily return his medal to Yang, whom FIG said is the ``true winner of the all-around competition.'' The USOC called the letter ``outrageous'' and said it no longer supported awarding a duplicate gold to Yang.

International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge emphasized there would be no double gold.

``Our position is extremely simple,'' Rogge said Sunday. ``The FIG has certified the result of the gymnastics competition. The IOC has awarded the medals according to the certified results. Paul Hamm was declared the winner and therefore he has received the gold medal, and for us that is final.''

Hamm was in Worchester, Mass., on Sunday rehearsing for the kickoff of the 13-city Rock & Roll tour, featuring Olympians Blaine Wilson and Morgan Hamm, and declined comment.

He did speak with NBC during the weekend.

``If the FIG determines, according to the rules, that I am not the winner, then I will give my medal back,'' he told NBC. ``I was never agreeing to give the medal back if they only asked me to. ... I feel that the rules were followed in the competition, and they mentioned fair play in their press release. And to me what fair play means is following the rules. And according to the rules, I was champion that night. And if they want me to give back the medal, that's them breaking their own rules.''

- (Contributing: Oscar Dixon of USA TODAY)

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Olympics 2004 were games of education, enlightenment

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