Team USA fence Daryl Homer was on the verge of making history in the men’s individual sabre competition Wednesday night, as he had a chance to win the nation’s first-ever Olympic gold medal in the event. However the Bronx native fell short of that goal, as he lost to Hungary’s Aron Szilagyi in the gold medal bout by the final score of 15-8.
WATCH: Defending Olympic champion Aron Szilagyi awarded gold medal
Szilagyi, who won the gold medal in this event four years ago, becomes the first men’s individual sabre fencer to defend his Olympic gold since France’s Jean-Francois Lamour did so in 1988. Szilagyi scored the first three points of the match, and Homer could get no closer than two points for the remainder of the match. Szilagyi strengthened his grip on the match with a run in which he scored seven of nine points to establish a 14-6 lead.
Homer managed to stave off two gold medal points, but he could do no more against the now two-time Olympic champion. Homer is the first American to medal in this event since Peter Westbrook, who established the program from which Homer learned how to fence, took bronze in 1984.
Kim Jung-Hwan of South Korea took bronze, that nation’s second fencing medal in these Olympic Games.
Having won three Olympic medals in the history of the men’s individual sabre event, the United States is assured of its fourth medal thanks to Daryl Homer.
The only question now is whether or not Homer, who advanced with a 15-14 win over Iran’s Mojtaba Abedini in the semifinals, can win the nation’s first-ever gold medal in the event. Homer, a native of the Bronx who took up the sport in a program established by Peter Westbrook, America’s last medalist in the men’s individual sabre, faces Aron Szilagyi of Hungary in the gold medal bout.
WATCH LIVE: Men’s individual sabre gold medal bout — 6:45 p.m. Eastern
Fellow American Eli Dershwitz was eliminated from the competition in the Round of 32 by Belgium’s Seppe van Holsbeke. The gold medal bout is scheduled to begin at approximately 6:45 p.m., and it is available at NBCOlympics.com and on the NBC Sports app.
Daryl Homer, the only U.S. man to earn an individual World Fencing Championships sabre medal, clinched a berth in a second straight Olympics on Saturday.
Homer, 25, lost in the first round of a World Cup event in Warsaw, Poland, but his international ranking is high enough that he clinched the first of two U.S. men’s sabre spots in Rio.
Homer lost in the 2012 Olympic quarterfinals, earned silver at the 2015 World Championships and is ranked No. 7 in the world.
Homer, seeking to become the first U.S. Olympic individual men’s sabre medalist since 1984 and first gold medalist ever, will be joined on the U.S. men’s sabre team in Rio by either World junior champion Eli Dershwitz or 2012 Olympian Jeff Spear.
However, Homer and Dershwitz or Spear will compete individually only in Rio as there is no men’s team sabre at the Games this year.
MORE: U.S. athletes qualified for Rio Olympics