If you haven’t heard of Shin A-Lam by now, then you clearly have not been paying enough attention to the most thrilling and captivating sport in the summer Olympics. Fencing.
A-Lam is a fencer from South Korea that got complete screwed out of a metal the other night when her opponent got in a final point after the time clock failed to start, giving a German competitor the chance to win.
But details are emerging about why the clock didn’t start, and it’s a little surprising: The person in charge of starting the clock wasn’t only an untrained professional, it wasn’t a professional at all. It was a volunteer.
A 15-year-old volunteer.
Kim Chang-gon, an FIE referee, is speaking out about the unfair loss of A-Lam, saying: “I checked after the game that it was a 15-year-old British volunteer girl who was doing the timekeeping.”
But it gets worse. It’s not only the volunteer’s fault that the clock wasn’t started for the one second finale, but it was her fault that there was a second left to begin with!
It’s common that inexperienced timekeepers start and stop the time either too early or too late, and when the Austrian ref, Barbara Csar, put the extra second on the clock, she said it was because the 15-year-old started the clock after the second of three plays started, which deprived the players from a second of play.
A-Lam was offered a consolation metal from the International Fencing Federation, but she denied it simply saying because it’s not an Olympic metal.
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