Olympics Day 2
After losing to her teammate in the semifinal match, 18-year-old Becca Ward of the USA, the #2 ranked sabre fencer in the world faces off against Sofiya Velikaya of Russia for the Bronze medal. The beginning of the match shows Becca’s nerves, as she drops to 1-6, but the she goes on an amazing 4-point run that includes some very athletic ripostes and a blinding jumping, dodging riposte. After the Break at 5-8, Becca comes back to 7-8, then 8-9 with her expert use of Prise de Fer, or beat-attack. A few points later, the score stands at 10-11 following a tense instant replay, which goes Becca’s way. The American patiently takes apart Sofiya’s defense to earn the tie, and another touch with lightning reflexes, and then her fifth in a row with a parry-riposte. After a few tense points, the score ist tied again at 13. The Becca taps in her 14th touch and Velikaya answers to tie the match at 14. The mood is intense, as the next point will take the match and the bronze medal. The referee says “play” and the match is over less than a second later, as Becca’s lightning lunge nicks the hand of her opponent, ensuring her the bronze medal and an event sweep for the USA, as her two teammates are meeting in the event finals.
The gold medal match in women’s sabre fencing is a treat between Mariel Zagunis, the defending gold medalist, and Sada Jacobson, the #1 ranked fencer in the world, both of the USA. The action happens almost too fast to follow, and the two women seem evenly matched as they trade lighting points, and the referee often refers to the instant-replay to decide points. These two women have faced each other so many times that each is extremely familiar with the other’s style. At 5-4, Zagunis makes a fantasting flashing riposte to take the touch and adds two more to go to the break up 8-4. A few silmultaneous actions (ties) result in no points, and Mariel takes the 9-5 lead with some aggressive action, then gains 11-5 with a series of prise de fer. 12-6 with a pair of flashing stabs.
12- 7 with a riposte from Jacobson. 13-7 with a feint from Zagunis. Jacobson hesitates and Zagunis takes advantage at 14-7. One touch and a tense period of instant-replay checking later and the gold medalist has repeated in ridiculously convincing fashion, defeating the #1 and #2 ranked fencers in the world in the process and leading the American team to a sweep of the women’s individual sabre medals.
Click HERE to view the video of this series on nbcolympics.com.