The Olympics are still only a few days old, but we already have a major controversy to discuss. In a fencing match to determine which woman would go on to compete for the gold medal, Germany’s Britta Heidemann defeated South Korea’s Shin A Lam, despite the protestations of the South Korean team.
To set the stage, the two fencers were tied and the clock was stopped with only one second left in their match. If either could score a point in the one second (something that’s virtually impossible to do), that person would be the winner. Otherwise, the match would continue to an additional round.
The referee signaled for the match to start and Heidemann quickly attacked, scoring a point. At least, that’s what the judges said. The clock never actually started and, upon review of the video, it appeared that it took Heidemann more than one second to score the point.
The South Koreans protested and eventually filed a formal appeal, which they lost. During this time–which amounted to 45 minutes–Shin refused to leave the piste (the platform that they fence on). She just sat there, crying. Later, she stood, defiant of the judges’ ruling. Eventually, she had to be removed by security.
The crowd gave Shin a standing ovation as she was escorted out.
Shin ended up losing the bronze medal match. Heidemann lost the gold medal match.