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Maggie Hendricks

Why is a tie-breaker needed in gymnastics?

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I was not pleased to learn that Nastia Liukin had been denied a gold in the uneven parallel bars due to a tiebreaker. Judging in gymnastics is under enough fire -- see Sacramone, Alicia -- so no fuel need be added.

Here is my question -- why not two golds? Ties result in two medals of the same color in several different sports. Two silvers were awarded in track and field in the women's 100m dash. Why is it necessary to break a tie in a sport that is overly subjective in the first place? If Liukin and China's He Kexin had routines that were truly identical in difficulty and execution, I see no harm in saying that and giving them both gold. If it is absolutely necessary to break the tie, do as other sports do and continue the competition. Have a tiebreaking routine with three or four required elements. Gold should not come down to an obscure reason.

If I had a gold to give out, I would give it to Liukin, not for her routine, but for her response.

"It’s nothing I can control, and honestly, I can say it has been very fair to me, and I got the biggest gold medal of them all," said Liukin, winner of the women’s all-around gymnastics gold.

Classy and well-spoken yet she still points out that she won the crown jewel of the Olympics in gymnastics. Well done, Nastia.

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