How the Mail on Sunday ‘won’ an Olympic medal

This week, the Mail on Sunday really did win an Olympic medal for Britain – thanks to the photographic evidence provided by Dave Shopland, pictured above with bronze medal fighter Sarah Stevenson, at the controversial taekwondo in Beijing.

Rob Draper’s report in the paper takes up the story:

Evidence from our photographer helped Sarah Stevenson to overturn an outrageous decision in the taekwondo martial arts contest and go on to secure a bronze medal.

Her triumph came during another fantastic effort by Britain, with boxer James DeGale winning our 19th gold medal on the penultimate day of competition before today’s closing ceremony.

Stevenson, 25, looked to have been robbed of her medal chance when in a quarter-final bout against China’s double Olympic champion Cheng Zhong she was the victim of one of the more inexplicable judging decisions in Olympic history.

Despite landing a clear kick to Zhong’s face, which should have scored her two points and a dramatic 2-1 victory in the final seconds of the bout, the judges failed to recognise the strike and allowed Zhong to win.

Zhong had a huge bruise and a cut lip, confirming that the Doncaster girl had connected with her face and should have won the contest.

As a capacity crowd at the Beijing science and technology gym deliriously celebrated their heroine’s win, tearful Stevenson was inconsolable.

But in an unprecedented development, the British team managed to have the result reversed – thanks to Dave Shopland, our man at the Olympic taekwondo.

Without access to video replays, British officials were unclear how strong their case would be. Also, they were aware that never before in taekwondo had the judges’
ruling been overturned.

Then Shopland showed team manager Gary Hall our perfect picture that clearly depicted Stevenson striking Zhong’s face.

That sparked the chain of events that led to the decision being overturned.

Stevenson told Shopland later: “Thank you for your help. The photo shows I definitely hit her.”

Hall added: “Thank you, Dave. It was a great shot. I knew when I saw the photograph that we could appeal.

“It was great shot from Dave. We knew then that we had an extra piece of information to finalise the appeal.”

Click here to read the rest of the report and to see the “medal-winning” picture

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