After winning just one medal in London four years, the U.S. fencing team has enjoyed a resurgence of sorts in Rio.
Saturday the women took bronze in the team sabre competition, defeating Italy 45-30 in the bronze medal match. The American team, consisting of Ibtihaj Muhammad, Mariel Zagunis and Dagmara Wozniak, was consistent as they registered five touches in each of their nine bouts. That consistency was key, as the U.S. team built an insurmountable advantage in the middle three bouts of the match.
Wozniak’s 5-1 win over Loretta Gulotta in the fourth bout started the run, with Muhammad following with a 5-3 victory and Zagunis winning the sixth bout 5-2. That combined 15-6 total extended the American advantage from four points to 13, as they led 30-17 after six bouts. Zagunis’ 5-3 victory over Rossella Gregorio in the ninth bout gave the United States the victory and their second bronze in women’s team sabre with the first coming in 2008. The U.S. fencing team has now won four medals in Rio, three more than their haul in London.
As for Zagunis, she’s now the first American fencer to win a medal in three different Olympic Games. She was also on that 2008 team that took bronze in the team sabre, the only other time the event has been held. One team event is rotated out at each Olympics, and in 2012 women’s team sabre was the one that was removed.
Russia defeated Ukraine 45-30 to take gold in the women’s team sabre, with their team including the gold and silver medalists in the individual sabre competition. Yana Egorian now has two gold medals in these Olympics, with Sophia Velikaya having a gold medal to go with the silver she earned in individual sabre.