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The Price of Injustice?

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I'm not usually one to write with such emotion as I do now. When I do, it's universally about core personal finance beliefs - that's not exactly the case now. I'd like to take a little space and a little of your attention to address a topic a little outside the box.

I was watching the Olympics tonight and I couldn't help but cringe when I saw Alicia Sacramone get robbed of a bronze metal. For those who missed it, she had a great routine and landed everything extremely well. The winner of the bronze was a vaulter who made several mistakes according to the judges... her hands did not land in the vault in parallel (far from it), and she landed on her knees - a clear fall. Here's the kicker - it was a very difficult routine - and the judges gave her a lot of points based on that. So is a difficult routine an automatic pass to a medal? Excuse me if I'm a little biased in supporting my fellow Massachusetts native.

I know I should give a personal finance angle to everything on this site. Do you have any idea how many thousands that the Olympic hopefuls pay for training? Here's a hint, it's many - many thousands. Some families use up their life savings to give their children a chance for glory. I can't fault that. It feels like a gamble - an educated gamble and one that can pay off... think about Michael Phelps' endorsements...

I have to wonder what might become of Alicia Sacramone... she had some problems in the team gymnastics round, but performed well and was considered to be "robbed" by a few Olympic experts in her individual event. I can only hope that Mr. Destiny can show her the light.

Posted on August 17, 2008.

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8 Responses to “The Price of Injustice?”

  1. Miranda says:

    I don’t like the way gymnastics are judged, either. The higher start value often means that something that is poorly executed gets a higher score than something that is very well done, but has a lower start value. Additionally, I like watching the events (like swimming) where the competitors have to be the first. It’s more objective. After all, in such “artistic” sports as gymnastics, there is a certain amount of subjectivity.

    Anyway, you could compare gymnastics to investing: A higher risk (start value) can lead to a bigger payoff. Of course, the higher start value in gymnastics is supposed to lead to a greater risk in terms of points losses if you make mistakes…

  2. Dedicated says:

    100% in agreement here. It broke my heart watching that young girls face. I didn’t understand it at all last night! The morning hasn’t cleared it either.

  3. Gymnastics scoring is so odd, the one thing I don’t understand is why they don’t have set judges. When something is so subjective, why not have the scoring all done by the same judges on one apparatus? The same judges for all the uneven bar performances, the same for all the floor, that way it’s at least normalized across the competitors.

  4. Matt says:

    Any sport that is judged by humans is prone to problems. Apparently some of the judges haven’t even been paying attention. I think that these games haven’t done anything to improve the standing of gymnastics in the world (which is a shame).

    I wonder if an independent body could be created to help judge sporting events – a corporate one rather than a series of national judges.

  5. guinness416 says:

    Have you read this? I find the “subjective” sports hard to understand (especially because I don’t know my pike from my tuck except at olympics time) but I imagine they’re trying quite hard to avoid any ice skating type scandals.

  6. Lazy Man says:

    I sometimes have a problem calling subjective sports, sports. I know it’s very competitive, but sometimes it appears very much an art to me. Plus, you get into a gray area… does Iron Chef (not that I’ve seen a full episode) count as a sport?

  7. @ Miranda: “The higher start value often means that something that is poorly executed gets a higher score than something that is very well done, but has a lower start value.”

    That is what I read also. There is hardly any art left in the sport although I still enjoying watching the amazing things they can do.

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