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Video review system debuts in Beijing Olympic gymnastics
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Judging errors like the one which deprived South Korean gymnast Yang Tae-young off an all-round Olympic gold in Athens will not be repeated as a video review system debuts in the Beijing Olympic gymnastics, a FIG official said in Beijing on Tuesday.

Yang was involved in one of the biggest controversies in the Athens Games four years ago when gymnastics' governing body, FIG, ruled that the South Korean bronze medallist should be awarded a gold medal as he was incorrectly docked a 10th of a point from his parallel bars routine.

Shortly after the Athens Olympics, FIG announced it would implement the video review system in all FIG events, said Philippe Silacci, FIG's media officer, who confirmed the Beijing Games is the first Olympics where the system is applied in gymnastics.

"It is the first time we use it for the Olympic games," he said. "We did not make a new announcement about the use of the system in the Beijing Games because it is well-known among the media."

Silcacci said FIG used the system first in the Melbourne World Championships in 2005, and Aarhus was the second. It is used in every FIG event including the Olympic Games and no-Olympic world games, but in world cup series, it is only applied in the finals, he said.

The use of the video review system is a long process and the judging controversies in Athens is only part of the reasons, Silacci said, who believed the system helps reduce judging mistakes as a tool for the judges to make double-check.

"It also helps educate the judges and coaches, as DVDs with all footages on them will be available to them after the games. It also gives coaches opportunities to protest if they find judging injustice," said Silacci.

According to him, only the two A judges for each apparatus can watch the video play-back during the competition.

And if the coaches want to field a protest, they will be given access to the video play-back after the competition but should be charged 500 U.S. dollars.

If the coaches are right, FIG gives the money back, but if they are wrong, the money will go to the FIG foundation, which helps injured gymnasts, said Silacci.

Silacci said since the implementation of the video review system, judging errors in gymnastics have gone down sharply. The Beijing Games will also benefit from the system, he said.

(Xinhua News Agency August 6, 2008)

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