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Paul Hamm won the olympic title after judging mistake

U.S. gymnast Paul Hamm, who won the Olympic men's all-around title after a judging mistake, said a South Korean opponent shouldn't get a duplicate gold medal.

The International Gymnastics Federation said an error by judges in the parallel-bars portion of the event deprived Yang Tae Young of the title. South Korea's team said it will appeal the all- around results to sport's highest review panel and the U.S. Olympic Committee said it might support a second gold for Yang, though the federation said it won't change the standings.

"Truly in my heart I believe that I am the Olympic champion and I don't feel as if I should be giving the medal back or another one should be awarded," Hamm told reporters in Athens, reports Bloomberg.

According to Reuters, the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) said it saw no reason for Paul Hamm, the American who took gold in Yang's place, to give his medal back, as some U.S. commentators have suggested.

Hamm, the first American man to win the Olympic all-round title, should not have been awarded the gold, the governing body of gymnastics (FIG) ruled on Saturday. But despite admitting the error, the FIG refused to redistribute the medals.

The gymnastics federation suspended three judges for the mis-scoring. One was an American and another a Colombian who works in a gymnasium in Hamm's home state of Ohio.

USOC spokesman Darryl Seibel said: "We don't think he should give the medal back. There is no reason he should give it back.

"He is the Olympic champion and a person of whom we are extremely proud."

Seibel said that having Yang receive a duplicate gold was something USOC would consider if the sport's governing body, FIG, wanted it -- something it has said it does not.

The idea of Hamm returning the medal has had many U.S. newspapers up in arms, although a few have supported it.

Tim Sullivan, a columnist for the San Diego Union Tribune, criticised any idea of compromise:

"Why would the USOC allow Hamm's gold-medal achievement to be diminished by agreeing to consider a duplicate gymnastics gold for South Korea's Yang Tae Young?

"Welcome to the 'We Are The World Olympics', the Summer Games in which America's goals are 100 medals and no new enemies. Seldom in our athletic history have we been more susceptible to whining ... Makes you proud, no?"

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