In dismissing Mr. Yang's appeal, the CAS panel held that the rules of gymnastics required that any protest related to an alleged judging error must be made during the competition, on the field of play, and the Korean delegation failed to do so during the event in Athens.
The panel stated that "no one can be certain how the competition in question would have turned out had the official's decision been different," that a different outcome would be "something in [the] realm of speculation, not of certainty." The CAS panel noted that the Federation of International Gymnastics "sought to persuade Hamm to surrender his gold medal to Yang when there was no reason for him to do so."
Paul Hamm stated: "This is a great day. I am so proud to be the Olympic all-around men's gymnastics gold medalist. I want to thank the many people who have tirelessly supported me and stood by my side. There are a few who stand out and should be thanked publicly including my family and my brother Morgan, my manager Sheryl Shade, my attorneys Kelly Crabb and Max Olson from Morrison & Foerster, and the USOC and their attorneys. The decision from CAS confirms what I have always felt in my heart which is that I was the champion that night and that I am the Olympic all-around gold medalist. I competed my heart out and I followed all of the rules. It feels good to know that the CAS panel also agrees with that. I will put this behind me and move on to continue performing and competing as a world-class Olympic gymnast in the same manner I have always done with integrity and pride."
Kelly Crabb, Max Olson and Jim Maniscalco of Morrison & Foerster represented Paul Hamm at the proceedings in Lausanne, Switzerland on September 27, 2004.
Kelly Crabb from Morrison & Foerster stated: "Let me first say that this is a great day for our client Paul Hamm, his family and the entire sport of gymnastics. The decision is in line with the main points that we presented to the CAS panel on September 27 in Lausanne, Switzerland. Those included: 1) We'll never know who would have won the gold medal if Mr. Yang and his coaches made the inquiry in time; 2) The rules of gymnastics do not contemplate scoring adjustments based on hindsight review after the competition is over; 3) Mr. Yang received a fair score based on the fact that he had an impermissible fourth "stop" (held longer than one second) on his parallel bars routine, giving rise to a mandatory two-tenths deduction from his score that was missed by at least two of the gymnastics judges. (Several witnesses testified that there were at least four such stops by Mr. Yang.); and 4) Lastly, to rule for Mr. Yang would be unfair to Mr. Hamm and would forever damage the sport of gymnastics."
Max Olson from Morrison & Foerster added: "We could not be more proud of our client Paul Hamm. We believed in him even before this ordeal began and he became our client. In our presentation to the CAS panel on September 27, 2004, we relied on the fact that Paul played by the rules and won according to the rules. Even going back and reviewing the performances -- which according to the rules and tradition of gymnastics should never have taken place -- it's clear that Paul won the all-around gold medal. He performed like a true champion and deserved the gold medal. Through the rules that the governing bodies laid out, it's hard to believe that there was ever a question of whether Paul Hamm was the clear winner. Today, that question goes away and our client can move on and enjoy his life as an Olympic gold medal winner."