Fencing: South Korean Shin Lam in tears amid major London 2012 controversy
Monday 30 July 2012
South Korean fencer Shin Lam was in floods of tears at the ExCeL arena
tonight after arguably the biggest controversy of the Olympics so far.
The 25-year-old thought she was through to the final of the women's epee when, to her horror and that of her coach Shim Jaesung, the clock was reset from zero to one second.
And when the action resumed German Britta Heidemann, gold medallist four years ago, scored a do-or-die hit that appeared to have given her a place in the final against Ukraine's Yana Shemyakana.
The Korean coach furiously launched an appeal against the decision that had allowed the fight to continue and it was nearly half an hour before it was announced to the crowd - slow-handicapping by this stage - that Heidemann's win stood.
Shin broke down in tears for the second time and while her opponent celebrated she remained on the piste.
The crowd was then told she was doing that because a formal appeal was being considered and if she left the field of play it would be deemed an acceptance of defeat.
By then the bronze medal match should have started, but that faced a lengthy delay - as did the final to follow.
Shin only needed to draw the contest in sudden death because she had been given priority - that is, the onus was on Heidemann to score in the extra minute of sudden death.
The crowd could hardly believe their ears just before 7.40pm - nearly an hour after the incident - when they were told part of the rules was that the Koreans had to lodge money for the appeal to be valid.
Still Shin remained on the piste, bringing back memories of fellow Korean Byun Jong-il's sit-down strike during the boxing in Seoul in 1988.
The big difference was that Shin was an innocent in all this and just doing what she was told.
Just before 8pm an official came onto the piste to encourage Shin to leave, but she was not happy to go just yet.
Another official came on to assist as she dissolved into tears again. Now there were whistles and boos from the crowd as she was led off, although the decision had still not been announced.
As she was hugged by her coach the announcer asked for respect to be shown to the athletes and judges - and also a big round of applause for the world number 12 as she finally left.
The coach left as well, still clearly furious about an outcome that the fans had yet to be told about.
The final should have been staged by then, but the crowd was not able to see what happened next. The spectators had no idea what was going on back stage.
The final decision was that Shin had lost the semi-final and would be in the bronze medal match.
Amazingly it began a few minutes later, the Korean coach saying: "We will try to clam her down, even though she is to be extremely stressed".
Shin somehow summoned up the concentration to take an early 4-2 lead over world number one Sun Yujie - every hit being roared by her new-found fans.
With the last three-minute period to go it was 9-9, but Shin's agony became complete when Sun took the bronze 15-11 and she was left empty-handed from a night she and the audience will never forget.
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: The biggest fight of all time, or maybe just the most lucrative?
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao start?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: What time does it start and where can I watch it?
Chelsea transfer news: 'Eden Hazard will cost Real Madrid £100m - and a Galactico,' says Jose Mourinho
- 2 Why this father didn’t hide his daughter’s heroin overdose in her obituary
- 3 Smartphones are making children borderline autistic, says psychiatrist
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
Rupert Murdoch berated Sun journalists for not doing enough to attack Ed Miliband and stop him winning the general election