South Korean fencer Shin A-Lam’s contentious loss in the semi-finals of the women’s Olympic epee on Monday was just the latest in a line of controversial judges’ decision at the Games. Below is a look back at five rulings that have rocked the Olympics
1972, Munich: Basketball final ends in uproar
With one second left, the US were leading the USSR by a point. However, officials then reset what was said to be a faulty clock to add an extra two seconds. The Soviets scored the winning basket for a 51-50 victory that ended the US’ 63-game undefeated streak, the longest in the history of Olympic team sports. The US protested but the USSR victory stood. The US silver medals remain unclaimed to this day.
1988, Seoul: Jones denied boxing gold
Roy Jones Jr of the US was widely agreed to have completely out-boxed local hero Park Shi-Hun in the light middlweight final only to lose the gold to the South Korea as a result of an astounding judges’ decision. Jones, who became one of the outstanding professional fighters of his era, was named the most stylish boxer of the tournament but that was scant consolation.
2000, Sydney: Shinohara loses judo final
Japan’s Shinichi Shinohara was too quick for the judges when he somehow slipped an attempted throw by David Douillet in the heavyweight judo final and put the Frenchman on his back. But instead of awarding the Japanese an ippon or knockout score, they gave a minor yuko to the Frenchman, who went on to win. No replays were in use then but they have been introduced for 2012.
2008, Beijing: Stevenson gets verdict overturned
Britain’s Sarah Stevenson won a bronze medal but only after the result of her quarter-final against Chen Zhong, the double Olympic champion, was reversed.
A kick from Stevenson to the face of Chen in the dying seconds did not register with the judges but, using video evidence, the Briton’s protest was allowed.
2012, London: Shin’s tears of anguish
South Korea fencer Shin A-Lam staged a sit-down protest for more than an hour after losing a women’s epee semi-final to Germany’s Britta Heidemann. With the scores tied, the German scored what she thought was the winning hit with one second left but which the Koreans believe was too late in a contest Shin would otherwise have won on a judges’ decision. Chaos ensued before Heidemann’s win was upheld and a tearful Shin was escorted off the piste.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2012.