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China wins Olympic gold in epee team

By ERIC WILLEMSEN,

Associated Press

Updated August 4, 2012

(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

LONDON (AP) China won the women's epee team event at the London Olympics on Saturday, and the South Korean fencer who wept on the fencing strip before losing an appeal earlier in the games finally got a medal.

Shin A-lam lost a disputed individual semifinal Monday against Britta Heidemann of Germany, who scored the decisive point after judges put a second back on the clock.

South Korea claimed the match should have been over. Judges took an hour to consider their appeal before rejecting it, and Shin could not leave the strip without conceding defeat.

"I felt like crying again on the podium," Shin said Saturday, and touched her silver medal with both hands. "I am really happy now. My teammates and people back in Korea gave me wonderful support this week."

Shin and teammates Choi In-jeong and Jung Hyo-jung led 7-4 in the final but lost their way.

Of the failed appeal earlier in the week, Shin said: "There was one second left, so after two attacks, I though I had won it. The following days I have been trying to forget it. It wasn't easy."

China defeated South Korea 39-25 for the gold. Li Na, Luo Xiaojuan, Sun Yujie and Xu Anqi earned China its second fencing gold after Lei Sheng won the men's individual foil.

"We all four deserved this. It was really teamwork," said Li, the world epee champion. "We believed in ourselves. We always thought we were going to win the gold."

The silver was the sixth fencing medal for South Korea at these games, tied with Italy for most.

The United States edged Russia 31-30 in extra time to take bronze for its first fencing medal in London. After six medals at the 2008 Beijing Games, the United States was still empty-handed going into the last day of fencing in London.

Not that it was a huge issue within the team, Courtney Hurley said.

"We didn't think about that at all," she said. "And now bronze - it's unreal. It hasn't sunk in yet."

The Americans fought a tense battle against higher-ranked Russia. They dropped behind 15-11 after four of nine bouts but were ahead 27-25 with just the last 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 - at the back of the strip. The referee called her back because rules say she had to salute her opponent with her epee before leaving the strip.

"We 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. I didn't expect much out of this bout, but they were scared. This is the Olympics, so they had much more pressure than usual."

Kelley Hurley added that "the only goal for the day was to not get creamed by Russia."

"I can't believe how well it all came together," she said. "It's like a dream come true. It's like it's not happening. It's the best moment of my life so far. We have a medal. It's awesome."

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