Aug. 1, 2012
LONDON – Two-time gold medalist and former Notre Dame fencer Mariel Zagunis won three matches Wednesday to place fourth in the Women’s Individual Sabre at the 2012 Olympic Games.
The native of Beaverton, Ore., was the second American ever to win a gold medal in fencing during her first appearance in the Women’s Individual Sabre at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. Zagunis also had the honor of carrying the flag into Olympic Stadium for the United States during the 2012 Opening Ceremonies July 27.
The only prior winner of the event since it was first held in 2004 (Athens), Zagunis opened her tournament by defeating Indonesia’s Diah Permatasa 15-7 in the round-of-32. Zagunis scored seven of the final nine touches to win the bout in the second period (12:53).
Zagunis got off to a fast start against Japan’s Seira Nakayama during her round-of-16 match, closing period one with an 8-3 advantage. A 5-3 second period rally by Nakayama was halted by Zagunis, and the world’s number one ranked sabreist closed with four of the bout’s final five touches to claim a 15-9 decision (15:53).
In the quarterfinal round, a 14-5 spurt led Zagunis past China’s Min Zhu 15-6 and clinched her fourth consecutive semifinal appearance in Olympic competition (’04, ’08 Women’s Individual Sabre and ’08 Women’s Team Sabre).
Korea’s Jiyeon Kim battled back from a seven-touch deficit (12-5) to square the first semifinal match at 13-all. Kim ultimately won 10 of the final 11 touches overall to stun Zagunis 15-13.
Ukraine’s Olga Kharlan defeated Zagunis 15-10 in the bronze medal match to prevent the former Irish standout from reaching the podium for the first time in her Olympic career. Kim capped off an impressive tournament with a 15-9 win over Russia’s Sofya Velikaya to win the gold medal.
For more information on all nine of Notre Dame’s participants at the 2012 London Olympics, visit the special Notre Dame Olympics microsite (und.com/olympics), the official London Olympics web site (london2012.com) or the official NBC Olympics web site (nbcolympics.com).
Fans can follow Notre Dame competitors at the 2012 Olympics through regular blog updates at und.com/olympics, as well as through social media on the Fighting Irish athletics Facebook page (facebook.com/fightingirish) or via Twitter on the main Notre Dame athletics Twitter feed (@fightingirish), or the men’s/women’s fencing team feed (@NDfencingteam) — use the hashtag #NDOlympics2012 to be part of the Notre Dame Olympics discussion.