No silver lining for some at Olympics athletes

07:10, Aug 01 2012
The crying games
Australia's Tamsin Hinchley reacts after losing a point during their women's preliminary round beach volleyball match against Austria.
The crying games
South Korea's Shin A Lam reacts as she is escorted after being defeated by Germany's Britta Heidemann (not seen) during their women's epee individual semifinal fencing competition at the ExCel venue.
The crying games
Lam Shin of Korea gets escorted off stage after a faulty clock ended her match against Britta Heidemann of Germany in the Women's Epee Individual Fencing Semifinals.
The crying games
Ryan Lochte pictured with a rather strange contraption in his mouth.
The crying games
John Orozco of the US cries at the men's gymnastics team final in the North Greenwich Arena.
The crying games
John Orozco of the US reacts to his results at the men's gymnastics team final in the North Greenwich Arena.
The crying games
Britain's Gemma Howell reacts after she was disqualified in the women's -63kg elimination round of 32 judo match against France's Gevrise Emane.
The crying games
Britain's Gemma Howell reacts after she was disqualified in the women's -63kg elimination round of 32 judo match against France's Gevrise Emane.

The Queen didn't smile in the opening ceremony but few have taken her lead. Her mirthlessness it seems is the only person left keeping a check on their emotions.

The very British "stiff upper lip" has fallen a quiver to the very wet lower lid in these weepy games. Scarcely can a camera pan a pool without finding chlorinated tears or the gymnastics without learning of the new routine, the tearful tumble.

It is all very understandable or course and, in part, not new, for the playing of even the most funereal of national anthems has long made winners weepy on the podium, but these games seem to have had a lot more I-just-want-to-crawl-under-my-duvet-and-not-come-out-for-four-years moments than most.

Mahe Drysdale gallery
Mahe Drysdale wins his quarterfinal of the single sculls.
Olympics gallery
Prince William, Kate Middleton and Prince Harry watch the showjumping stage of the equestrian event in Greenwich, London.
Olympics gallery
New Zealand's Jonathan Paget and his horse Clifton Promise compete in the showjumping.
Olympics gallery
South Africa's Lesle-Ann George (L) and New Zealand's Ella Gunson fight for the ball during their women's Group B hockey match.
Olympics gallery
Spain's Liliana Fernandez Steiner (L) and Elsa Baquerizo McMillan celebrate a point against Argentina during their women's preliminary round beach volleyball match.
Kiwi eventers
Andrew Nicholson gets a hug from Julie Lemarinel after New Zealand win the bronze medal.
Kiwi eventers
Mark Todd and Campino in action during the showjumping.
Olympics
Venus Williams of the United States returns a shot to Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada.
Olympics
Vladimir Gojkovic #11 of Montenegro challenges Tamas Kasas #5 of Hungary during their men's water polo match.
Olympics
France's Victor Sintes celebrates defeating Japan's Kenta Chida during their men's individual foil.
Basketball
Russell Westbrook and Marouan Kechrid of Tunisia fight for the ball in a men's basketball preliminary round game.
Swimming
Michael Phelps smiles as he wins his 19th Olympic medal, becoming the most decorated Olympian of all time.
Artistic gymnastics
The USA women's gymnastics team react after winning gold in the team event.

South Korea's fencer Shin Lam had one of the more dramatic meltdowns. Unbeknown to Lam an extra second was added to her bout and after she thought she had defeated her German opponent, victory turned to defeat when the German girl nipped inside and stuck her with the epee. Lam was inconsolable. 

In the bizarre world of fencing she had to then sit out on the piste while an appeal was lodged and heard for if she left the piste the appeal was abandoned. Told you it was bizarre. As the frustrated slow-hand clap got louder the crowd was advised any appeal would only be valid if the Koreans came up with the money to fund one. Oh my. Corporate games indeed, who wouldn't cry? It's enough to make a person cry, which Lam did, but she was not alone. Eventually officials came out to move Lam on and she refused to budge. When they shifted her the tears really rolled.

Tears are what draw us in. Watching an athlete strain isn't proof enough of what it all means to them, we need to see some wet evidence. Emily Seebohm gave us that after her silver medal provided no silver lining to her lost gold on Monday night. There was nowhere to hide and the dam wall broke. Time is supposed to heal all wounds, but a night is not enough time for healing so the next day's press conference just brought it all back up again. You felt for her, you feel for all of them

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South Korea's Shin A Lam reacts as she is escorted after being defeated by Germany's Britta Heidemann during their women's epee individual semifinal fencing competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
South Korea's Shin A Lam is escorted from the piste following an unsuccessful appeal after a timing malfunction cost her victory in the women's epee individual semifinal fencing competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
South Korea's Shin A Lam reacts after being defeated by Germany's Britta Heidemann during their women's epee individual semifinal fencing competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
South Korea's Shin A Lam waits on the piste while an appeal is lodged after a timing malfunction cost her victory in the women's epee individual semifinal fencing competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
South Korea's Shin A Lam reacts after being defeated by Germany's Britta Heidemann during their women's epee individual semifinal fencing competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
South Korea's Shin A Lam waits on the piste while an appeal is lodged after a timing malfunction cost her victory in the women's epee individual semifinal fencing competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
South Korea's Shin A Lam reacts after being defeated by Germany's Britta Heidemann during their women's epee individual semifinal fencing competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
South Korea's Shin A Lam waits on the piste while an appeal is lodged after a timing malfunction cost her victory in the women's epee individual semifinal fencing competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
South Korea's Shin A Lam reacts after being defeated by Germany's Britta Heidemann during their women's epee individual semifinal fencing competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
South Korea's Shin A Lam waits on the piste while an appeal is lodged after a timing malfunction cost her victory in the women's epee individual semifinal fencing competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
South Korea's Shin A Lam reacts after being defeated by Germany's Britta Heidemann during their women's epee individual semifinal fencing competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
South Korea's Shin A Lam waits on the piste while an appeal is lodged after a timing malfunction cost her victory in the women's epee individual semifinal fencing competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
South Korea's Shin A Lam reacts after being defeated by Germany's Britta Heidemann during their women's epee individual semifinal fencing competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
South Korea's Shin A Lam waits on the piste while an appeal is lodged after a timing malfunction cost her victory in the women's epee individual semifinal fencing competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
South Korea's Shin A Lam reacts after being defeated by Germany's Britta Heidemann during their women's epee individual semifinal fencing competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
South Korea's Shin A Lam waits on the piste while an appeal is lodged after a timing malfunction cost her victory in the women's epee individual semifinal fencing competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
South Korea's Shin A Lam reacts as she is escorted following a sit in after being defeated during the women's epee individual semifinal fencing competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
South Korea's Shin A Lam reacts as she is escorted from the piste following an unsuccessful appeal after a timing malfunction cost her victory in the women's epee individual semifinal fencing competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Like British judoka Gemma Howell, who was in tears of disbelief at her disqualification at grabbing her opponents' leg and welled up. Or American gymnast John Orozco from the Bronx who realised, the minute his bum hit the ground not his feet, that his team medal had gone, or 17-year-old gymnast Jordyn Wieber who was eliminated purely on the basis that two competitors per country could advance and Wieber was the third ranked Yank. Years of work undone in that.

The painful burden of sacrifice that athletes ask of their families becomes crushingly apparent with the realisation there will not be a golden moment. Tamsin Hinchley had that overwhelming realisation on TV as she reflected on leaving her husband and son at home to pursue her dream.

We know all this because even if you aren't at the venue the TV cameras don't miss a tear. And jeepers there are a lot of them. But the cameras are no different to us, they focus in because we are perversely drawn to watch someone else lose it. It's why Master Chef always manages to have a few good sooks per episode.

Still I'd rather see a few tears than have to look at that chuckle head American Ryan Lochte with his 'look-at-me, look-at-me' diamond grille on his teeth again. Put it away sir, no one needs to see that. That was the gold medal for cringing 'American TV' moment at the games to date. Think I'll cry.

-Sydney Morning Herald