South Korean fencer Shin A-lam wanted to cry again at the London Olympics, only this time it was because she finally won a medal.
The fact that it was not a gold hardly even seemed to matter.
China beat South Korea 39-25 on Saturday to win the women’s epee team event, but Shin at least found a measure of redemption after missing out on a medal in the individual competition five days ago.
Shin lost a heavily disputed semi-final against Germany’s Britta Heidemann last Monday when she sat crying on the strip for an hour while judges deliberated and finally rejected an appeal by her team.
“I felt like crying again on the podium,” Shin said, touching her medal with both hands. “I am really happy now. My teammates and people back in [South] Korea gave me wonderful support this week.”
The US edged Russia 31-30 in extra-time to take bronze for their first fencing medal of the London Games.
In the individual event, Shin lost against Heidemann after the German scored the winning point on her fourth attempt in the final second, while Shin and the South Korean team thought the match was already over.
“There was one second left, so after two attacks I thought I had won it,” Shin said. “The following days I have been trying to forget it. It wasn’t easy.”
Shin and her teammates — Choi In-jeong, Choi Eun-sook and Jung Hyo-jung — led 7-4 in the final, but lost their way afterwards as China took over.
It was the sixth fencing medal for South Korea in London, more than any other nation except for Italy, who also have six.
Li Na, Luo Xiaojuan, Sun Yujie and Xu Anqi earned China their second fencing gold after Lei Sheng won the men’s individual foil.
After six medals at the 2008 Beijing Games, the US were still empty-handed going into the penultimate day of fencing in London.
Not that it was a huge issue within the team, Courtney Hurley said.
“Oh yeah,” she said, sounding like someone who was being reminded of something she had tried to forget. “We didn’t think about that at all and now bronze, it’s unreal, it hasn’t sunk in yet.”
The US fought a tense battle against higher-ranked Russia. They dropped behind 11-15 after four of the nine bouts, but were 27-25 ahead with just the final one remaining.
Hurley lost that bout 5-3 against Anna Sivkova, but with the score tied at 30-30, Hurley grabbed her last chance in extra-time.
She ran screaming toward her teammates — her sister Kelley Hurley, Maya Lawrence and Susie Scanlon — but the referee called her back as she had to salute her opponent before leaving the piste.
“We [the team] went into the match thinking, do you believe in miracles?” Courtney Hurley said. “We’ve beaten them once in the World Cup, but lately we got our butt kicked by them.”