- Associated Press - Monday, July 30, 2012

LONDON — Sports cliches are easy to come by, but nail-biting does not begin to sum up the women’s individual epee matches on Monday at London 2012.

Yana Shemyakina of Ukraine beat defending champion Britta Heidemann of Germany 9-8 to win the Olympic gold medal — but not before an hour-long delay in the semifinals following an appeal by the South Korean team after Heidemann’s 6-5 victory over Shin A-lam.

At its heart, Shemyakina and Heidemann played three times for the winning point, each time with just one second left on the clock.

This itself left many spectators wondering — for just how long can you string out one second?

It was during this third “second” that Heidemann scored the winning point, prompting the South Korean appeal. In the hour it took for the appeal process, Shin refused to leave the piste as by doing so she would accept defeat. She sobbed uncontrollably before the 8,000-strong auditorium.

The referees eventually called in favor of the German athlete. The crowd, however, overwhelmingly showed their support for Shin and many gave her a standing ovation as she left the arena.

Shin returned minutes later to face top-seeded Sun Yujie of China for bronze.

After an early lead, Shin collapsed, leaving the auditorium without a medal. Each time she scored, she received much applause and some occasional foot-stamping. The crowd gave her yet another standing ovation as she bowed out.

Sun won bronze by beating Shin 15-11.

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