There are few sporting events that relentlessly display passion, euphoria, motivation, and even patriotism all in one. To measure yourself against the greatest in the world is indescribable. The only thing that separates each individual from the podium is talent and skill.
That’s what makes each Olympics so special.
I’m sure by now that you are all aware of the homerun stories that have populated in London. From Kayla Harrison becoming the first American ever to win gold in judo to Michael Phelps’ journey to 22 medals, London’s ratings are easily surpassing Beijing marks right and left.
Rather than focusing primarily on the major sports during these Summer Games, I use this time to learn and appreciate the less popular sports like handball (which is really cool if I may add), table tennis and water polo to name a few. There are over 30 sports being played in London. Why seclude yourself to a few?
Furthermore, the downside of some of these milestone features by the favored athletes is that it overshadows a bunch of riveting stories that never get an ounce of spotlight.
My friend and fellow 2012 classmate Dave Everett passed along a very disheartening story along to me that hasn’t necessarily appeared on this Games’ radar. Even I missed it.
Last week, Shin A Lam of South Korea was wrongfully robbed of a chance to compete for gold. With one second left on the clock, Lam seemed to be well on her way to the fencing epee final match. All she had to do was not be touched. Sounds like a guaranteed win right? Nope, actually not.
After the referee motioned to restart the match, the clock never started which resulted in Britta Heidemann of Germany landing a touch to win the bout. The Korean team attempted to dispute the evident screw-up, but their appeal of the decision was denied.
Then to add injury to insult as she sat there on the piste — the playing surface — baffled and hysterical, Lam was removed by security after laying there for over a half hour in tears.
Lam still had a chance to compete for bronze. But after still being miserably distraught, she was defeated by China’s Yujie Sun. Instead of fencing for gold, Lam would leave medal-less.
But here’s the kicker. The timekeeper for the event was a 15-year-old kid. The world’s biggest international sporting venue has a volunteer minor as timekeeper. Maybe a simpler task would have been apt. Then again, there are always clock issues that take place in sports regardless of the setting. How the situation is rectified is what counts.
Sports constantly goes through phases were the rules are not bent to better the sport. Everything is not black and white. This is just another case that can be added to the pile.
I hope the fencing and International Olympic committee learns from this grave mistake.
Lam eventually did earn silver in the women’s epee team competition, but the loss she suffered to Heifemann will haunt her endlessly.