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Unbelievable Olympic comeback!


Paul Hamm wins 2004 All Around


I just now, I think, am to the point of not stammering in shock.

From doing something he'd never done in his entire gymnastics career -- landing on the judges' table after a vault -- to the pinnacle of the Olympic podium.

Paul Hamm came from 12th place after four rotations, with two events remaining, to win gold.

Not only has an American never won the all-around, the way he did it . . . I'm still almost speechless.

I said at the commercial break: "No way he can do it. Not unless he's the male equivalent of Mary Lou Retton or something."

Paul, I take it back.

Team mate Brett McClure was awesome, too. I think the judges burned him unfairly on his Still Rings routine, but even Tim Daggett said that the scoring for that had been weird the entire event.

And here I thought the men's swimming victory over the Australians in the team relay was phenomenal . . . and it was. And the women's team swimming, breaking that nearly two decades long world record . . . amazing.

But coming back from 12th place to do something no American has ever done before? I don't think my jaw's been on the floor like this since Kerri Strug's amazing vault at the 1996 Olympics.

Hamm's gonna be on the front page of every newspaper in the USA tomorrow, and deservedly so. Wow. Just wow.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
arafel
Aug. 19th, 2004 05:02 am (UTC)
At the end of the event, you could see that his trainer was telling him "Dude, you got the gold!" And Paul Hamm's reaction went from "No freakin' way" to "OMG!" in about thirty seconds. Meanwhile, the Korean guy has his head in his hands.

I always wonder what kind of unpleasantness the Asian competitors - esp. the Chinese in events where they're supposed to win, and they don't - go home to.
pointedview
Aug. 19th, 2004 05:31 am (UTC)
I read somewhere that one of the other competitors said that the USA had something it didn't deserve to have (referring to Hamm's gold); I think it was one of the Koreans. However, despite his disappointment, I'm sure he knows well enough that Hamm had done exceedingly well prior to the vault, and no matter how bad the landing looks, there's only so much the judges can take off for it. They're examining the whole vault -- form in the air, completion of elements, etc. -- not just the landing. It's an important last impression, yes, but it's only one part of the whole routine.

I hope they won't go home to unpleasantness. I hope, particularly for Korea, that getting the silver and bronze will give fuel to their gymnastics program. As for China, with the 2008 Olympics coming in Beijing, I think they're poised for a serious comeback. Something like this will make them work all the harder for it.

pointedview
Aug. 19th, 2004 10:37 am (UTC)
I must correct my earlier theory -- it was not the Koreans who said that, but the Romanians. Here's the quote:

"Suciu said: "I do not have any complaint about my score. The only thing I can say is that the USA got something more than it deserved. I am sad and bitter. I felt that I had the medal in my hand and I lost it." Said Dragulescu: "Everyone got a fair judgement, with the exception of the USA, who got a little bit more."
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