Radio interviews with Sun staff

Columnist Laura Vecsey discusses Olympics issues

August 25, 2004|By Staff

WYPR FM's interview with Sun sports columnist Laura Vecsey. Originally aired August 25, 2004.

Andy Bienstock, WYPR: Sun sports columnist Laura Vecsey joins us by phone today from Athens to bring us up to date on the latest Olympics news, including the gymnastics controversy, a happy tale that had a messy end.

Laura Vecsey: I do believe that it's over despite the protestations of the South Koreans who would like to at least have a duplicate gold awarded for that event. However, I think what happened was that there weren't enough gymnastics officials around from the international federation to explain to everybody quite clearly that there's really not a do-over in terms of how the error in the judging was scored. Therefore, there really isn't any remedy for the South Korean to have a gold, unless the IOC wants to intervene and award a second gold medal.

WYPR: Do you think Paul Hamm should have offered a duplicate gold? Not to turn his in, but at least to say, "yeah."

Laura Vecsey: I have to say that this is one of those issues that columnists and sports writers and people love because there's an ethical element to it, I suppose. But to tell you the truth, according to what Paul Hamm went out to do was to compete and focus on his routine, and really it wasn't his job to be concerned about the technical error in the judging matter. Everybody's putting it on this kid's shoulders, like if he was a really good sport about it he'd give up the medal. I don't understand why someone would just give up the medal. I suppose it's up to the appeal process if there's anything ahead for the South Koreans to maybe award a medal, a second medal. It really is not Paul Hamm's job to think about what the judges did or did not do.

WYPR: The Iraqi soccer team made a much better than expected showing than expected. You were at yesterday's game?

Laura Vecsey: I was indeed. I took my Olympic Air flight up there and spent a wonderful day watching an Olympic event outside of Athens in another great Greek city.

WYPR: Was it a little inspirational to see them play?

Laura Vecsey: It had been. I was there the day the Australian Air Force went in and lifted the Iraqi team out of Baghdad into Amman. It was quite a big to-do when they arrived in the Olympic village that day and unfurled their flag where they had taken Saddam's script off the flag and substituted it. From the minute those people arrived here at the Olympics, it's clearly a tremendous time for them to use their adrenalin as a free people to play and perform. That being said, all the other struggles the Iraqi people are facing are going to face these people, too. The training facilities, the diet, what to do - many uncertainties face this team. It's kind of like a metaphor for the entire country.

Hear conversations with Sun writers covering the Summer Olympics, Monday through Friday at 5:45 p.m. on WYPR FM, 88.1.

August 25, 2004, 6:47 PM EDT

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