A Heartbreaking Moment You Probably Missed From The London Olympics [Video]
The Olympics are always a forum for amazing stories of victory, defeat, overcoming obstacles and also succumbing to them. There have been several of these amazing moments so far in the 2012 London Olympic Games. But, the following story of defeat and heartbreak has been absent from major American media.
South Korea vs. Germany – Women’s Fencing
One the most heartbreaking stories from the 2012 Olympic Games didn’t originate from the Olympic stadium or the Aquatics Centre. It took place in ExCel, the largest competition venue at the London 2012 Games. The sport, Fencing.
Shin A Lam of South Korea was poised to move on to the gold medal round of the women’s fencing competition. With only a single second remaining on the clock, Lam led in her match against Britta Heidemann of Germany. Lam needed to avoid being struck for a that one second in order to move on to the gold medal match.
Unfortunately, when the referee signaled for the match to be started again, the timekeeper never started the clock. This gave Heidemann longer than the one second to land the winning blow. That single second lasted several and Heidemann landed a blow, giving her the victory over Lam.
Distraught about the failure of the timekeeper to begin the clock, the South Korean team protested by appealing the final decision from the referee. Lam sat on the piste, the playing surface for fencing, to indicate that she did not accept the decision of the referee. The protest lasted for over a half an hour, all the while Lam quietly sat, tears streaming from her eyes. The appeal was eventually denied and Heidemann was given the victory and moved on to the gold medal round. Lam remained on the piste to protest the decision, she was eventually removed by security.
Still emotionally shattered by the unfair ruling, Lam later competed in the bronze medal match against Chinese fencer, Yujie Sun. Yujie Sun won the match and earned a bronze medal in fencing. While Lam should have been competing for gold, she instead left the event empty handed.
Shortly after the story broke, it came out that the timekeeper for the event was a 15 year old British volunteer. The fact that such an important match was being officiated by someone with little to no experience, is an outrage.
Lam was offered a consolation medal from the IOC. She refused the medal, which was more of a “woops here is a participation ribbon” than a medal. On the bright side, Lam later went on to win silver with her South Korean team in the team épée event.