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Saturday, October 14, 2006
Canada gymnastics team will have to pay for replays

Associated Press

AARHUS, Denmark -- The Canadians put the new gymnastics replay system to the test Saturday, and will get to pay … and pay … and pay for the privilege.

Canada's team filed three protests at the end of its qualifying round at the world championships, an action that led to a 15-minute huddle around the replay screen, with technical committee president Adrian Stoica holding court.

One of the inquiries was upheld, the other two were rejected. Because the International Gymnastics Federation charges for inquiries -- in an attempt to prevent frivolous ones -- Canada will owe $800. That's $300 for the first bad one and $500 for the second.

"That check will be in the mail. For a little while," Canadian coach Tony Smith said.

The Canadians were able to smile about the results. They stood in fifth place after the first day of qualifying, in good position to make team finals and finish higher than ninth for the first time at worlds.

Smith said he was satisfied with the results of the challenges. The system was introduced last year in response to a number of judging problems in the Athens Olympics, one of which involved Canada's Kyle Shewfelt's vault.

Two of Canada's inquiries involved questions about start scores on the pommel horse, one for David Kikuchi and the other for Adam Wong. The other involved a 0.1-point deduction on Shewfelt for stepping out of bounds on the floor exercise. Shewfelt is the defending Olympic champion in that event.

"Maybe the sliver of his toenail was out. It was hard to tell," Smith said. "But they said they didn't have conclusive evidence to overturn it."

The bylaws don't call for out-of-bounds rulings to be reviewed, but Stoica agreed to look at it anyway -- one of the many gray areas that haven't been clearly defined in the new replay system.

Canada got a split on the other two decisions and Smith said he wasn't upset. He said the one they lost was the result of the way judges in his country had interpreted something in the new Code of Points. FIG judges didn't use the same interpretation.

"We'll just tell our judges about it," Smith said. "The rules have changed so much, you can't really blame them for the way they're being interpreted."

FIG bylaws call for inquiries to be submitted almost immediately after the routine in question. No team was more ready for this than Canada. Smith and his fellow coaches had inquiry sheets filled out before the meet, ready to hand them over, just in case.

"I thought they did a good job," Smith said. "They handled it fairly. They watched it in slow motion. They showed it to us and they explained it."