Celebrities respond to fencer Shin Ah Lam's loss
With the news of Shin Ah Lam not making it into the fencing finals in the 2012 London Olympics due to what the overwhelming majority of viewers have expressed to be an unjust call, celebrities have been voicing their opinions on the matter.
HaHa posted to Twitter, "How lonely and furious must Shin Ah Lam be sitting on the piste all by herself. I'm so livid, I think I might cry. I'll pray for you! You're not alone. We will all pray for you."
Singer Jung Jae Hyung stated, "I want to protect our athlete Shin Ah Lam! Those dirty referees! I mean, if there are rules then you referee according to those rules. If your decision was not in line with the rules than you accept your mistake and either call a rematch or find a different option."
Rapper Tiger JK stated wittily, "The referees need to get their butts spanked for 1 second... an endless second."
KARA's leader Gyuri wrote on her Twitter after her plane ride to Japan, "Wow I got to Sapporo, Japan in one second! ^^," mocking the endless '1 second' clock error that occurred during Shin Ah Lam's match.
The event the celebrities are referring to is Shin Ah Lam's match against 2008 Beijing Olympic gold medalist, Britta Heidemann.
On the 30th, fencer Shin Ah Lam lost the semi-final match with a final score 5-6. Competing against Britta Heidemann of Germany, the game continued into overtime after a tied score of 5-5. With one second left in overtime, Heidemann would win with her next successful attack and advance to the finals or Shin would win by default if Heidemann failed. However, even after three consecutive attacks were successfully avoided by Shin Ah Lam, the stop clock remained at 00:01.
Although everyone including the audience was in a state of confusion at that point, the female referee stated, "Hold on a second!" and reset the clock to 1 second, and Heidemann landed a strike against Shin Ah Lam.
After Heidemann's victory was confirmed, the Korean team protested the result. However, after around 30 minutes of discussion, the referees gave their final decision, and Shin Ah Lam had indeed lost her chance at gold. Unable to accept the unfair decision, Shin Ah Lam remained on the piste for nearly an hour, waiting an hour for the refs to take back the wrong call. According to the rules of fencing, once a fencer steps off the piste, the result of the match is assumed as accepted.
Eventually the officials issued a ruling to reject the appeal, and Shin left in tears, while the crowd booed the officials' decision. Shin subsequently lost the bronze medal match, which she played immediately after the fiasco.
Shin Ah Lam expressed, "It was a difficult hour. I kept thinking of how hard I trained to get to the Olympics. I still don't understand why my match did not end with an accurate decision."
One columnist, Jim Caple, wrote, "Who can blame her? You train for the Olympics, you compete as best you can, you earn a shot at the gold medal -- only to have it all end because an official can't read a clock properly."
As if subtly acknowledging their mistake, the 'International Fencing Federation' stated that they would be giving Shin Ah Lam a 'special medal' for her "aspiration to win and respect for the rules". However, the athlete politely refused the award saying, "I don't think it'll make me feel any better because it's not an Olympic medal. Because the decision was wrong, I cannot accept the results."
Caple was not the only one who found both the ruling and situation ridiculous. Korean celebrities expressed their feelings concerning the unjust decision.
As much as South Koreans are upset over Shin Ah Lam's situation, this was one of a few calls made by Olympic referees that caused outrage among Korean citizens.
Just two days before Shin Ah Lam's unfortunate loss, Korean Judo athlete Jo Jun Ho's victory was taken from him even after the announcement that he had won. Moments after his victory was announced, the chairman of referees gathered the three referees on stage and told them to revoke their decisions saying, "The call was wrong." Jo Jun Ho accepted the referees' decision as did his coach.
In addition, swimmer Park Tae Hwan experienced a similar setback when he was initially disqualified for a "false start" after taking first place in his group for the 400m freestyle preliminaries. After an appeal was made, the judges found upon review that no false start occurred.
Source + Image: ESPN, EDaily, Sports Seoul, Herald Economy
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