And the gold for dramatic gesture goes to ..

Fri Aug 3, 2012 7:20am EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - Losing at the Olympics hurts. But suffering an injustice, real or imagined, is agony.

The 2012 Games have been peppered with debatable refereeing, a technical glitch in fencing, post-race relegation and - this one a first - the controversial expulsion of eight badminton players judged to have broken the spirit, but not the rules, of their sport.

Throw in an embarrassing mix-up over national flags and a fair measure of crowd-power, and London has provided its share of memorable moments where passion has spilled into protest and petulance, frustration and fury.

Early frontrunners for drama gold include South Korea's Shin A-lam, who sat on the fencing piste, weeping, for an hour in protest at her elimination from the epee semi-final.

She is up against the North Korean women's soccer team, who refused to take the field in the city of Glasgow for a match against Colombia because a giant video screen mistakenly showed the flag of their country's sworn enemy South Korea.

While Iranian boxer Ali Mazaheri stormed out of the ring after being disqualified, home cyclist Victoria Pendleton simply held her head in disbelief after being disqualified in an event where she could have won gold, then fought back tears in an interview.

"Many athletes have worked with their support teams on possible outcomes," said Andrew Lane, professor of sports psychology at the University of Wolverhampton in England, "but these unusual decisions you just can't cater for."


China's Sun Yujie celebrates defeating South Korea's Shin A Lam (not seen) during their women's epee individual bronze medal fencing match at the ExCel venue at the London 2012 Olympic Games July 30, 2012. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch