A timing error in the last second of the bout led to a 20-minute delay and a controversial decision in the women's individual épée semifinal today between South Korean Shin A Lam and German Britta Heidemann, one that has the Korean refusing to leave the piste.

With one second remaining in the match, Heidemann needed to score a touch on Shin to win the match. (Shin would have advanced if they finished the round tied.) The clock then got stuck, allowing Heidemann several extra seconds to score, which she did. Officials then congregated for a long time discussing their options before finally awarding the win (and a chance at the gold medal) to the German.

Shin, in tears, sat down on the piste and has yet to leave. The arena announcer explained to the audience that if she were to leave, it would mean she accepted the decision; since the Korean team is filing an appeal. Even more bizarrely, fencing rules require the Korean team to pay a cash deposit in order to secure an appeal. (Yahoo!'s Maggie Hendricks informs me this is the case in every Olympic sport.)

You can tune into the craziness here.

Update (3:03 p.m.): Officials have removed Shin from the piste and she is leaving the arena as it appears the appeal has been denied.

A South Korean Fencer Is Refusing To Leave The Piste After Being Screwed Out Of A Chance At Gold [UPDATE]S

Update 2 (3:37 p.m.): Forced to compete for bronze immediately after losing the appeal, Shin fell to China's Sun 15-11 and will be deprived a medal.

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