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Zagunis Leads U.S. To Bronze In Women's Sabre

Aug. 13, 2016

By Joanne Norell

RIO de JANEIRO – For the second time in as many days, a former University of Notre Dame fencer has taken home an Olympic bronze medal, as Mariel Zagunis and the United States women’s sabre team defeated Italy 45-30 Saturday in Rio.

Zagunis, who closed out the victory in the anchor position, outscored her Italian opponents 15-9 Saturday in helping to lead the U.S. to bronze for the second time in as many times as the weapon has been contested on the team level. Zagunis and Team USA also brought home the hardware at the 2008 Games in Beijing. Sabre was not included in the 2012 Olympic program in London.

The U.S. led from the outset, winning all nine rounds in the rout. It came after a close 45-43 quarterfinal win over Poland to start the day and near-comeback in a 45-42 loss to Russia in the semifinal. Zagunis lost just two bouts, out-touching opponents 48-36 across all three matches.

It was the second U.S. fencing medal with Irish ties of the Games, as Gerek Meinhardt and the men’s foil team collected bronze on Friday.

It was the fourth career Olympic medal for Zagunis, who also collected individual gold medals at the 2004 and 2008 Games and was the first American fencer to win a gold medal in Olympic competition.

— ND —

Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2014 and coordinates communications efforts for the Notre Dame women’s soccer, men’s tennis, women’s tennis and fencing programs. Norell is a 2011 graduate of Purdue University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communication, and earned her master’s degree in sports industry management from Georgetown University in 2013.