A Second to Remember

Connie Chung, Staff Writer

“Phenomenal. Nerve wracking, but [I was] excited to cheer for my country” were the words of West varsity tennis player Gretchen Natividad (10) as she recalled exhilarating moments of the 2012 Olympics.

     Held in London, the Olympics was indubitably one of the world’s most spectacular gatherings of all time. Though there were victory tears and countless celebrations, one athlete sat overwhelmed with frustration and disappointment in the bitter shadows.

   The athlete was Shin A. Lam, a female South Korean fencer who sat in the spotlight, unable to move as tears streamed down her face — simply incapable of facing her heavy loss. During the final moments of the fencing match, Lam was a point ahead of her German opponent, Britta Heidermann. With only one second left on the clock, Lam basically secured the spot to compete for gold or silver —that is, until the clock jammed itself, turning the one second of victory into a prolonged second of misery. The delay allowed Heidermann to complete her attack, bringing her country an arguable win.

  After much debate, officials set down a firm decision to allow Heidermann to continue on to compete for the gold despite the clock’s malfunction. Lam was forced to play once more for the bronze immediately following the brutal loss. She placed fourth in the competition, failing to medal altogether.

  The tiniest speck of a problem during the Olympics  not only created a national controversy but also highlighted the difference between winning a gold medal and going home with nothing at all.

  West High student, Linda Kim (11), stated, “It just wasn’t fair, and as a South Korean, it riled me up”.  A delayed second was all it took for the whole of South Korea to weep and fight alongside its honorable athlete. Andy Park (12),in reminisce of the tragic outcome stated, “It always seems to be the smallest of actions to cause the greatest effects”.

  Overall the 2012 London Olympics ran smoothly, but a defected clock that stripped an athlete of victory will always have its place in Olympic history.