Kevin Salwen on Culture
There are many tests in our daily lives of our ethics and values, some grayer than others on the black-and-white scale: the extra dollar of change we are handed, the typo in the business contract we notice, the little truth-stretching in our resumes (were you really responsible for that?).
But the recent controversy surrounding U.S. Olympian Paul Hamm presents a fascinating dilemma: Should a man who almost assuredly was awarded the Gold Medal incorrectly give it back? The controversy centers on how the judges scored Hamm's Korean competitor, Yang Tae Young; they set the wrong start value for Yang's degree of difficulty, which reduced his score and kept him from winning the Gold.
Hamm isn't talking but his coach, Miles Avery, concedes that the start value was wrongly set. But he also says the judges missed an error in the routine that should have caused a deduction for Yang. So, he says, the rightful winner won.
In my view, one is a subjective call (the flaw in the routine) while the other was an objective measure (the start value). Hamm clearly should not have won the medal. But that leads to the big question: Should he have to return the medal, as international gymnastics officials are claiming? Should there be two Golds granted? What's the ethical answer?