Monday, in the women’s fencing epee semifinal match between Britta Heidemann of Germany and Shin A Lam of South Korea, Lam led with one second left on the clock. All she had to do was not be touched in that one second and she would be advancing to the gold medal match. Unfortunately for Shin, the clock never started after the referee signaled to restart the match, giving Heidemann more than one second to land the winning touch.
Incensed, the Korean team paid to file an appeal of the decision, while Shin had to sit on the playing surface, known as a piste, to indicate that she did not accept the decision of the judges. She was there for over a half hour, with much of that time spent in tears, before the appeal was denied.
Shin remained on the piste after the decision was made in protest, before then being removed by security. She was then sent into the bronze medal match shortly after and, understandably still distraught, was defeated by China’s Yujie Sun. Shin should have been fencing for gold, but left empty handed.
Since the incident, it has come out that the timekeeper for the event was a 15 year old British volunteer. Really? This isn’t fencing class at the Y, this is the Olympics. There was nobody in the entire world with any timekeeping experience that could have been called upon to take on such an important task? When I was 15, I wouldn’t have had the attention span to do that job either. Whoever made the choice to put a child in charge of the clock for an Olympic event should be fired.
It has also been reported that Shin has been offered a “consolation medal” by the IOC for the myopia of the officials. Consolation medals aren’t bronze, silver, or gold. They are glorified participation ribbons with a little greeting card attached that says “Whoops” on it. Shin justifiably turned it down.
:: via ESPN ::