Fencing is a noble pursuit. For a sport that has its roots
in medieval score-settling, controversy is surprisingly
rare. It has featured at
every Summer Olympic Games since the birth of the modern
Olympic movement in 1896. During those years, fencing has
stayed largely out of the spotlight. As a minority sport where
honour and respect are key, scandal is practically
unheard of. That all changed in 2012. Before we get to all that, a quick guide to Olympic
fencing. Epee bouts are
the most straightforward type of fencing contest
to watch and referee. The rules are simple – the first fencer to hit
their opponent, on any part of their body,
earns a point. After each point, the fencers return to their “en garde”
positions and they go again. Whoever has the most points when time expires is the
winner. If the two fencers hit each
other at the same time, they’re both awarded a point. The exception to this rule
is when the scores are tied and the next hit
would win the match. In these circumstances, the scores remain the same
and the bout restarts. The women’s Epee semifinal in
2012 saw reigning Olympic champion
Britta Heidemann take on South Korea’s Shin
A-lam. As we just said, whoever
could land the most hits in the time available
would win the bout. But that’s not strictly true.
It isn’t quite that simple. Before a sudden-death
extra minute starts, one fencer is randomly
assigned “priority”, meaning that in the event of a
tie they’re awarded the win. Going into the extra minute
Shin A-lam had priority, so a draw would be enough for her to progress to the
final. It was cagey. As they entered the extra
minute, the scores were locked
at 5-5. The priority rule meant that the onus was on Heidemann
to attack. Shin was in control. With 24 seconds remaining, Heidemann went on the
offensive. In the space of 20 seconds,
she registered five hits. Unfortunately for her, each one was successfully
countered by Shin, resulting in
a series of double hits, none of which registered as
points. Time was running out. With one second on the clock,
it was do-or-die for Heidemann. Another attempt failed. She tried again. No luck. The official clock was still
showing one second. She tried again. Shin forced another double hit. Incredibly, the clock
still displayed one second. The fencing clock ticks down in increments of one full
second. So whether there’s one
thousandth of a second remaining
or a full second remaining, the clock will display one
second. But after three Heidemann
attacks, Shin knew that there could only
be fractions of a second left. Victory was in sight. The referee asked the
timekeeper to ensure that the
clock was correct. The timekeeper misinterpreted
this instruction, and started the clock,
which immediately hit zero. The crowd thought it was all
over, and Shin appeared to have
won. But the bout hadn’t
officially restarted, so the elapsed time didn’t
count. It was up to the referee
to put time back on the clock. The smallest number that could
go on the clock was a full second. REFEREE: En garde, s’il vous
plait. It was inaccurate,
but she had no choice. Heidemann had another chance,
and she had time to play with. Shin was distraught. COACH: One second! Her coach was furious, but his protests fell on deaf
ears. It meant there would be
another chance for Heidemann, who wasn’t ready to give up
her title of Olympic Champion. REFEREE: En garde. Allez. It was a clean hit as time
expired. Heartbreak for Shin. The Koreans launched an appeal. According to fencing rules, Shin A-lam could not leave the
piste while the officials
analysed the appeal. She waited. And waited… And the winner of
the second semifinal, representing Germany, Britta Heidemann. Even after the official
appeal was rejected, she remained on the piste in
tears, eventually being escorted off
by officials from the International Fencing
Federation. In total, she was there
for 70 heart-breaking minutes. The image of Shin sat alone
on the piste weeping uncontrollably became an iconic moment
of the 2012 Olympic Games. And the fans inside
the Excel Arena left knowing that they had witnessed a bizarre slice of
Olympic Games history.

Fencing’s Never-Ending Second | Strangest Moments
Tagged on:                                                                                                                                                 

100 thoughts on “Fencing’s Never-Ending Second | Strangest Moments

  • July 2, 2019 at 8:13 pm
    Permalink

    Just remind me of what South Korea did in 2002 FIFA World Cup. This is what you call Karma. This is how you feel it when got cheated

    Reply
  • July 2, 2019 at 8:29 pm
    Permalink

    Судей на мыло!

    Reply
  • July 4, 2019 at 5:10 am
    Permalink

    Oh, so the Austrian referee Barbara Csar was personal friends with Britta Heidemann? Wow. Shocker.

    Reply
  • July 4, 2019 at 6:20 am
    Permalink

    The olympics favor only white countries from the western world! France,USA,Germany,Britain. For the rest of us… there's MASTERCARD.

    Reply
  • July 5, 2019 at 11:34 am
    Permalink

    I’m watching this a year later. Has IOC given Shin any sort of acknowledgment? Or is it just the judges’ decisions that are final?

    Reply
  • July 6, 2019 at 5:09 am
    Permalink

    shin should have retreated

    Reply
  • July 6, 2019 at 12:51 pm
    Permalink

    Heart breaking

    Reply
  • July 8, 2019 at 11:44 am
    Permalink

    Does anyone know if olympics in 2016 had millisecond clock?

    Reply
  • July 10, 2019 at 2:36 pm
    Permalink

    I'd be livid if this happened to me.

    Reply
  • July 13, 2019 at 7:36 pm
    Permalink

    Obviously a colossal fuckup but the “priority” rule is absurd…the South Korean fencer didn’t actually have to beat her opponent which makes her job far easier. A same system would force continuation until one fencer actually earned the win. So cosmically this was the correct sporting outcome even though it was a horrific miscue by the timekeeper

    Reply
  • July 14, 2019 at 1:53 am
    Permalink

    I don't buy for one second they "accidentally" reset the clock to a full second. How is it the officiators were satisfied with that kind of blatant rigging? They knew how much time was left, bring in another clock if you have to. This was totally rigged, and shows you what a farce olympic fencing is.

    Reply
  • July 14, 2019 at 8:11 pm
    Permalink

    I’m so dumbfounded by the priority rule like how does that prove skill? It’s the Olympic Games no? Anyone with me?

    Reply
  • July 15, 2019 at 3:14 pm
    Permalink

    Если удар наносится менее, чем за секунду, поединок останавливается и секунда возвращается полностью! Но это же бред!!! Кореянка выиграла!

    Reply
  • July 16, 2019 at 4:01 am
    Permalink

    Sounds like a dumbass sport to me

    Reply
  • July 16, 2019 at 10:23 am
    Permalink

    Olympic illumanitism at its finest. The referee decided to check the clock and thus, stripped Shin of her win, it's in black and white and that says it all. "Volunteers" ahem are never to be blamed.
    5vs5. Adds to 10. 5vs6 adds to 11. Another significant number?

    Reply
  • July 16, 2019 at 6:04 pm
    Permalink

    She got cheated..

    Reply
  • July 17, 2019 at 7:22 am
    Permalink

    i feel rlly bad for Shin T.T
    like 70 minutes wow

    Reply
  • July 18, 2019 at 8:24 pm
    Permalink

    Unfair, they didn´t respect time rules

    Reply
  • July 20, 2019 at 1:53 pm
    Permalink

    @0:17 Lol I have never heard someone pronounce controversy like that in my life

    Reply
  • July 22, 2019 at 7:19 pm
    Permalink

    Shin shouldve won

    Reply
  • July 24, 2019 at 10:19 am
    Permalink

    Fact that Heidemann and Her team didn't protest the clock's change during the match tells a lot about fair-play. Heidemann doesn't deserve this medal. If I could get a medal this way…I will refuse to get it. I couldn't look at it being proud. Shame.

    Reply
  • July 25, 2019 at 6:38 am
    Permalink

    Whites cheating again ? Not surprised.

    Reply
  • July 25, 2019 at 7:34 am
    Permalink

    so basically if you are white you get as many chances to win until you win, got it

    Reply
  • July 25, 2019 at 2:53 pm
    Permalink

    Ich habe Ihre Schuhe gefunden

    Reply
  • July 25, 2019 at 2:54 pm
    Permalink

    Müssen nur noch angepasst werden

    Reply
  • July 25, 2019 at 7:10 pm
    Permalink

    It shows the Opportunistic nature of Europeans.

    Reply
  • July 26, 2019 at 2:04 am
    Permalink

    This is a robbery disguised as a victory.

    Reply
  • July 26, 2019 at 11:07 am
    Permalink

    Heidemann shouldn't have made a move and give her the win out of fairness. I am german and It hurts me to see that

    Reply
  • July 26, 2019 at 5:06 pm
    Permalink

    Winning due to an error is nothing to be proud of

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 5:58 am
    Permalink

    Hope the timer dude got fired and banned from anything Olympics related.

    Reply
  • July 30, 2019 at 10:17 am
    Permalink

    For those who didn't understand the Korea Vs Germany fencing

    In fencing ,sudden death of a minute is given when there is a draw so Korea was given priority by random. Germany had to win a point where Korea just had to keep the draw by counter attacks,Korea countered 5 attacks from Germany. With 0.2 seconds left on the clock,a referee let the time run by accident and it reached zero so Korea thought they won but they didn't. The officials decided to continue but instead of giving Korea 0.2 seconds,they gave Korea a full second which is enough time for multiple attacks,Korea could have won but the extra miliseconds gave Germany enough time to get a hit ,this means Germany would win. Korea gave a appeal which was rejected .Shin the Korea fencer was devastated at remained there for 70 mins crying

    Reply
  • July 30, 2019 at 11:05 am
    Permalink

    I never understood what the problem was here. Thanks for explaining it.

    Reply
  • July 30, 2019 at 4:54 pm
    Permalink

    That was sooooooooo close

    Reply
  • July 30, 2019 at 7:13 pm
    Permalink

    So what your telling me in fencing if you have priority and get lucky and have it every game I can just play aggressive and hit the person and keep it a tie and win

    Reply
  • July 31, 2019 at 6:04 am
    Permalink

    Solo perché il presidente del cio è un ex schermidore tedesco

    Reply
  • July 31, 2019 at 11:27 pm
    Permalink

    they should rematch but with real swords

    Reply
  • August 1, 2019 at 9:04 pm
    Permalink

    I'm on the fence on this one, undecided.

    Reply
  • August 3, 2019 at 6:36 pm
    Permalink

    Priority rule is bullshit anyway.

    Reply
  • August 4, 2019 at 4:33 pm
    Permalink

    Hum, how did this pass?

    Reply
  • August 5, 2019 at 5:09 pm
    Permalink

    happens when women do sport

    Reply
  • August 7, 2019 at 12:43 am
    Permalink

    Everyone is talking about the clock they should talk about the tie rule, that is bull on someone is randomly given priority

    Reply
  • August 7, 2019 at 7:57 am
    Permalink

    Thats some bullshit

    Reply
  • August 8, 2019 at 12:31 pm
    Permalink

    At the WCs in Budapest, clocks were designed to measure tenths of a second if there were less than 60 seconds left. This rule change must have been induced by this very sad case.

    Reply
  • August 10, 2019 at 4:19 pm
    Permalink

    Wow…thats devastating.

    Reply
  • August 10, 2019 at 10:40 pm
    Permalink

    I remember watching it live, I was sad for the Korean girl and worse than her DT left her

    Reply
  • August 11, 2019 at 2:48 am
    Permalink

    Bold of you to make a video explaining exactly how you fucked over an athlete's entire career and sound proud about it.

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 4:17 am
    Permalink

    cool, so the olympics robbed a Korean athlete and humiliated her because they didn't have competent timekeepers or a clock that was up to scratch.

    Reply
  • August 13, 2019 at 11:33 am
    Permalink

    Shin got robbed

    Reply
  • August 14, 2019 at 1:38 am
    Permalink

    No fue un error… fue un robo.

    Reply
  • August 14, 2019 at 4:58 pm
    Permalink

    This is cruel

    Reply
  • August 15, 2019 at 2:32 pm
    Permalink

    What a disgrace. At least you had the balls to post this. Nevertheless, you should be ashamed olympic committee.

    Reply
  • August 17, 2019 at 12:50 am
    Permalink

    Yes, it was heartbreaking. Still, look how freaking fast these two are!!!

    Reply
  • August 17, 2019 at 2:55 am
    Permalink

    Bullshit!!!! I'd protest to this

    Reply
  • August 17, 2019 at 6:21 am
    Permalink

    Shin was officilly cheated by thr olympic games

    Reply
  • August 17, 2019 at 11:15 pm
    Permalink

    they can give the german girl 1 full second but why don't they stop the clock @0.8 second?
    this sport has so many scandals and it doesn't deserve to be in the Olympic

    Reply
  • August 18, 2019 at 2:48 pm
    Permalink

    I'm surprised that this is even a sport let alone one at the Olympics.

    Reply
  • August 19, 2019 at 3:09 am
    Permalink

    this is actually insane

    Reply
  • August 20, 2019 at 3:12 pm
    Permalink

    Olympics u have a true spirit of sportsmanship as u r accepting ur flaws quite positively in here

    Reply
  • August 21, 2019 at 2:15 am
    Permalink

    0.01 second can change any term of events, yet to give 0.80 second from 0.20? Yikes.

    Reply
  • August 25, 2019 at 4:19 pm
    Permalink

    كم مؤلمة هاذه القصة

    Reply
  • August 25, 2019 at 6:36 pm
    Permalink

    Buhu laming your opponent with double hits did not work. Fencers like that are the worst and fate intervened to prevent such an unworthy champion.

    Reply
  • August 27, 2019 at 11:35 am
    Permalink

    the clock is one thing yeah but this stupid priority rule would have cost Heidemann a win at the olimpycs.
    She was the better fencer in this fight if she had not won I would be pissed off.

    Reply
  • August 30, 2019 at 8:20 am
    Permalink

    Maybe she didn’t win the title but I’m our heart we know she won the title and that a fact for some

    Reply
  • August 31, 2019 at 10:42 pm
    Permalink

    At the outset I am as outraged as anyone. But I am also thinking these are the semi finals, and that if these competitors are this close at the end, the victor may well be chance, anyway.

    Reply
  • September 4, 2019 at 12:32 pm
    Permalink

    I am so sorry for her!..I hope she will win her olympic gold in tokio

    Reply
  • September 5, 2019 at 2:45 am
    Permalink

    That's bullshit

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 2:37 pm
    Permalink

    brits know how to ruin everything…even the olympic games

    Reply
  • September 7, 2019 at 6:01 pm
    Permalink

    No wonder this isn't that famous.

    Reply
  • September 8, 2019 at 4:33 am
    Permalink

    Love how the olympics yt channel posted this knowing it was rigged

    Reply
  • September 14, 2019 at 8:43 am
    Permalink

    She competed not to lose. The defending champ competed for victory. This is why she won.

    Reply
  • September 14, 2019 at 11:58 am
    Permalink

    They should've made it a draw

    Reply
  • September 14, 2019 at 7:42 pm
    Permalink

    i think the olympic judgest apologize to Shin. its a not 1second

    Reply
  • September 15, 2019 at 12:51 pm
    Permalink

    i long for a worthy o p o n e n t

    Reply
  • September 15, 2019 at 12:57 pm
    Permalink

    So really Shin won. But she didn't get the gold medal. Don't worry Shin, YOU know that YOU really won. And the other girl should have hanged her head in shame for cheering such a victory.

    Reply
  • September 15, 2019 at 8:58 pm
    Permalink

    God knows who win the match lets unfair means be thrown away

    Reply
  • September 16, 2019 at 7:54 am
    Permalink

    I still can remember that moment

    Reply
  • September 19, 2019 at 3:24 pm
    Permalink

    So why not attempt to just keep stopping the clock until you got close to the original time? It's not impossible considering how the they easily stopped the clock repeatedly throughout the match.

    Reply
  • September 20, 2019 at 7:41 pm
    Permalink

    Imagine being famous for losing the olympics then crying for 70 minutes. All the shame she brought to her famiry.

    Reply
  • September 22, 2019 at 3:52 am
    Permalink

    I’ve heard of competitors believing they were “robbed of the win,” but this is shockingly disgraceful. Image of a sobbing, heartbroken athlete aside, Shin was/is the clear winner of this match. Everyone knows “life’s not fair” and all the other similar platitudes that people say when they’re trying to justify something or cheer you up, but the Olympics are supposed to be the be-all, end-all and ultimate epitome of fairness within competition. There definitely were actions well within the realm of human control that could have/should have been taken and there will never be an adequate excuse as to why they weren’t. (Personally, what aggravated me the most was the refusal to even let her coach speak.) This whole situation reeks of laziness and favoritism. So shameful.

    Reply
  • September 23, 2019 at 11:07 pm
    Permalink

    Did no one have an iPhone? Remind me to never watch this ridiculous sport ever again

    Reply
  • September 24, 2019 at 9:23 pm
    Permalink

    They did that Korean girl dirty…. why bother investing all that time and energy into going to the Olympics when there's the chance to get cheated like that?

    Reply
  • September 25, 2019 at 12:55 am
    Permalink

    Bro don't be so on the fence

    Reply
  • September 26, 2019 at 9:34 pm
    Permalink

    Considering there were three exchanges already in less than one second there was clearly enough time for the last exchange. Even with 1/5th a second that was enough time for one more attack. The German won fare and square. The last exchange would have happened regardless. You could tell the German was in the fight until the end While the other girl was full of anxiety.

    Reply
  • September 27, 2019 at 9:22 am
    Permalink

    The timer hade 0,02 sekonds left. That means that Britta Heidermann got 0,88seconds left. Bruhhhh trash

    Reply
  • September 27, 2019 at 10:20 pm
    Permalink

    Fixed

    Reply
  • September 28, 2019 at 4:00 pm
    Permalink

    So it was rigged

    Reply
  • September 29, 2019 at 9:25 pm
    Permalink

    "Strangest Moments" may not be the term for this situation…

    Reply
  • October 2, 2019 at 5:34 pm
    Permalink

    That was Shin's definitely, that was actually unfair.

    Reply
  • October 3, 2019 at 4:13 pm
    Permalink

    1:12 no, you can parier and than you'll get the point

    Reply
  • October 4, 2019 at 11:22 pm
    Permalink

    How can britta celebrate on a obviously stolen win

    Reply
  • October 5, 2019 at 3:27 pm
    Permalink

    The "never-ending second" was 1.8 seconds long.

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 12:49 am
    Permalink

    It's an obvious Injustice!!!
    Shin deserves the honour.
    Olympic officials should correct their mistake.

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 5:05 am
    Permalink

    Let's just called it a draw
    Meanwhile
    Jesus Christ is the only way to eternal life and in this situation almost doesn't count 👍🏼

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 8:26 am
    Permalink

    That priority rule is stupid. It turned out well.

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 9:55 am
    Permalink

    Playing to win vs playing not to lose

    Reply
  • October 7, 2019 at 4:10 pm
    Permalink

    This is not bizaare. This is absoLute buLLshit.

    Reply
  • October 7, 2019 at 4:21 pm
    Permalink

    This chick being so pumpedafter thay pisses me off so bad. And that crowd having even cheering. BuLLshit

    Reply
  • October 8, 2019 at 1:54 am
    Permalink

    That’s wasn’t fair shin should have won

    Reply
  • October 8, 2019 at 4:34 am
    Permalink

    Yeah, no, Shin was R O B B E D.

    Reply
  • October 9, 2019 at 8:17 am
    Permalink

    The real winner was shin

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *