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U.S. fencing wraps up its most successful world champs ever

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The U.S. fencing team had its best world championships ever, earning six medals with two golds in Wuxi, China.

The Americans won the women’s team events in épée and foil for the first time. Courtney Hurley (épée) and Eliza Stone (sabre) added bronze medals. World sabre No. 1 Eli Dershwitz took silver, while the men’s foil team added silver on the final day Friday.

The total surpassed the previous U.S. record of five medals at 2015 Worlds.

The Americans performed well in Wuxi despite getting no individual medals from its Rio Olympic medalists and past world champions.

Mariel Zagunis, the most decorated fencer in U.S. history with four combined individual Olympic and world titles, competed only in the team sabre event, where the U.S. was fifth.

The 33-year-old is working her way back from October childbirth and was ranked fifth nationally when the four individual roster spots for worlds were chosen. A fifth fencer is eligible for the team event.

Olympic silver medalists Daryl Homer (sabre) and Alex Massialas (foil) lost in the round of 16 and round of 64, respectively.

Ibtihaj Muhammad, who in Rio became the first American to compete in an Olympics in a hijab, has not competed at the top international level since the 2017 World Championships. She just published an autobiography.

Dershwitz’s rise is worth noting. He debuted at the Olympics in Rio as a rising Harvard sophomore and lost in the first round.

In 2015, Dershwitz became the first U.S. man to earn a world junior sabre title, but he had never made it past the round of 32 at senior worlds until this year. Dershwitz’s first World Cup wins in November and February combined with his silver medal this week vaulted him to No. 1 in the world rankings.

Hurley, who lost opening bouts at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, earned her first individual medal at her 10th world championships appearance. She also became the first U.S. épée fencer to earn a world medal.

Stone’s bronze was also a surprise. She is the fourth-ranked U.S. woman in sabre and had never made it past the round of 16 in three previous world appearances. Stone narrowly missed the Rio Olympic team but is now ranked 12th in the world.

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Russia names new Olympic chief in wake of doping scandals

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MOSCOW (AP) — Fencing champion Stanislav Pozdnyakov was elected president of the Russian Olympic Committee on Tuesday after its previous leader stepped down following years of doping scandals.

Pozdyakov, who won three Olympic gold medals in 1996 and 2000, previously managed the “Olympic Athletes from Russia” delegation at February’s Winter Olympics in PyeongChang after Russia’s team was formally banned for doping.

Pozdnyakov has said he wants to make Russia more influential in sports politics and leave the era of doping sanctions behind.

He beat the only other candidate, former swimmer and International Olympic Committee member Alexander Popov, by 214 votes to 56.

Pozdnyakov joins a clique of ex-fencers at the top of Russian sports politics, along with Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov and billionaire businessman Alisher Usmanov, who is president of the International Fencing Federation. The IOC president, Thomas Bach, is also a former fencer.

Alexander Zhukov, a politician from the ruling United Russia party, had led the ROC since 2010 but said in May he wanted to focus on his career in parliament.

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Ibtihaj Muhammad gets her own Barbie doll

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U.S. fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first Muslim-American woman to compete at the Olympics with a hijab, now has her own Barbie doll.

The doll, available for purchase next year, was unveiled Monday at the Glamour Women of the Year Summit.

“When I was growing up, I didn’t have many options of dolls that looked like me,” Muhammad said, according to Glamour. “But today, we’re changing that.”

Muhammad’s Barbie is the first in the doll’s 58-year history with a hijab.

“This is such a big moment for little girls everywhere,” she said, according to Glamour, adding that she used to sew tiny hijabs onto her dolls growing up.

Muhammad, 31, lost her opening bout at the world championships in July, 11 months after taking bronze in the team event in Rio. Muhammad lost in the round of 16 in the individual event in Rio.

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