U.S. sweep saber as Zagunis wins gold – 1st U.S. Medals!
By Gelu Sulugiuc
BEIJING (Reuters) – American fencer Mariel Zagunis led a U.S. sweep of the women’s Olympic individual saber medals on Saturday, beating compatriot Sada Jacobson 15-8 in the final.
Rebecca Ward won the bronze medal, defeating Sofiya Velikaya of Russia 15-14.
Zagunis, the Athens Olympic champion, took control of the final from the beginning and never trailed the world number one Jacobson, who is her room mate in the Olympic Village.
The 23-year-old let out a roar after scoring her final touch, then got an American flag from the crowd and waved it in the middle of the arena. It was the first gold of the Games for the U.S.
In the semifinals, she survived a tense bout against her Oregon Fencing Alliance team mate Ward, pulling away late to a 15-11 win.
“This was probably the hardest bout I fenced in my career, but you know, I did what I had to do,” Zagunis said of her victory against Ward.
Zagunis is an anthropology major at the University of Notre Dame. She has put school on hold since the winter of 2006 to focus on defending her Olympic title after feeling she was losing her sharpness because of too much homework.
She will complete her degree after the Games.