Jul 18 London Olympic Preview

By Nicole Jomantas | July 18, 2012, 5:40 p.m. (ET)

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – After a successful 2008 Olympic Games in which Team USA earned six medals, the U.S. Olympic Fencing Team has prospects for trips to the podium for both genders in each of the three weapons and is the only nation to have qualified a full team of athletes in each weapon.

In London, the U.S. Fencing Team will be led by two-time Olympic Champion Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.) and includes five returning Olympians looking for another chance at gold as well as young athletes who aren’t content just to qualify for the Games – they, too, want to represent the United States on the podium. And, as the only nation to qualify a full contingent of 16 fencers, more athletes will have their chance than ever before…

Women’s Foil
Individual Competition: July 28
Team Competition: Aug. 2

In October, then-17-year-old Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.) became the first U.S. women’s foil fencer to earn a Senior World medal since 1999. Now ranked fifth in the world, Kiefer is one of Team USA’s top podium prospects in London. Nineteen-year-old Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.) defeated Kiefer to win the 2011 Junior World Championships and has since become one of Kiefer’s toughest competitors on both the junior and senior level. Nicole Ross (New York City, N.Y.) finished in the top 16 at the Senior Worlds in October and her track record of defeating former World and Olympic medalists shows that she can put together clutch performances on the international scene. A replacement athlete in Beijing, Doris Willette (Lafayette, Calif.)won the Division I Nationals in April, but Ross’s medal finish moved Willette to fourth in the rankings and a second trip to the Games in the replacement athlete role.

Men’s Saber
Individual Competition: July 29
Team Competition: Aug. 3

In 2008, Tim Morehouse (New York City, N.Y.) and James Williams (Sacramento, Calif. / New York City, N.Y.) were part of the team that won a silver medal in Beijing – a feat they are hoping not only to repeat, but improve upon as they prepare for London with Daryl Homer (Bronx, N.Y.), a top-16 finisher at the 2010 Senior Worlds, and replacement athlete Jeff Spear (Wyantskill, N.Y.) In March, the U.S. team showed that they have the potential reach the podium again when Team USA won a bronze medal at the Moscow World Cup – the highest finish at a World Cup for the squad since 2005.

Women’s Epee 
Individual Competition: July 30
Team Competition: Aug. 4

The U.S. Women’s Epee Team won the squad’s first ever World Cup medal in March at event in St. Maur, France. Olympic nominees Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas),Maya Lawrence (Teaneck, N.J.) and replacement athlete Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) not only reached the podium, but earned the silver medal – a finish that moved Team USA up to fifth in the rankings.   

In London, the trio of 2011 Senior World Team members will be joined by Susie Scanlan (St. Paul, Minn.) Scanlan, who is took her junior year off from Princeton with the goal of qualify for the Games, broke through in Budapest where her top-16 finish at the Budapest Grand Prix in February.

Men’s Foil
Individual Competition: July 31
Team Competition: Aug. 5

With an average age of barely 20-years-old, the U.S. Men’s Foil Team will be one of the youngest squads at the Games, but, despite their youth, these guys hold three World Cup and a Senior World Championship medal between them. In addition, the team’s confidence was boosted after the men defeated Italy at the La Coruna World Cup in Spain.

Ranked fifth in the world after bronze medal finishes earlier this season at the Paris and Seoul World Cups, Imboden broke through both the domestic and international rankings in 2011. The talented junior once had a goal of qualifying for the 2016 Games, but his time table was sped up after he won gold at the Pan Ams in July and placed eighth at the Senior Worlds in October.

Team USA also has strong individual medal prospects in team anchor Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) who won two Senior World Cup medals before his 18th birthday and Miles Chamley-Watson (Philadelphia, Pa. / New York City, N.Y.)who finished fifth at the 2010 Senior Worlds.

The lone foil fencer at the 2008 Games, 2010 Senior World medalist Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.) brings both talent and experience to the squad as Team USA’s replacement athlete.

Women’s Saber
Individual Competition: Aug. 1
No Team Event

Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.) is the only athlete in the world ever to win Olympic gold in women’s saber and the two-time reigning Olympic Champion plans on keeping it that way. A four-time Senior World Champion, Zagunis has finished the last three seasons as the top-ranked women’s saber fencer in the world and will be the top seed in London. Since Beijing, Zagunis has won gold at the 2009 and 2010 Senior Worlds and a silver in 2011.

As an 18-year-old, Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.) was a replacement athlete in 2008 when the U.S. women swept the podium and won bronze in the team event. Now, four years later, Wozniak has earned individual World Cup medals and bronzes at the 2011 and 2012 Worlds as a member of the U.S. Team. After finally reaching her goal of qualifying for an individual position at the Olympic Games, Wozniak said her focus is on bringing home a medal.

Men’s Epee
Individual Competition: Aug. 1
No Team Event

Like women’s saber, men’s epee also will not have a team event in London. Although Olympic nominees Soren Thompson (San Diego, Calif. / New York City, N.Y.) andSeth Kelsey (Portland, Ore. / Colorado Springs, Colo.) were both on the team that won the first ever gold medal for a U.S. Men’s Team at the Worlds in April, both athletes are now focused on reaching the podium as individuals.

A seventh-place finisher at the Athens Games, Thompson took nearly three years off after injuries kept him from qualifying for Beijing, but he returned to international competition in 2011 and has since gone on to win the Pan Am Championships and crack the top-10 world rankings.

A veteran of the 2004 and 2008 teams, Kelsey won gold at the Pan American Games in October, but a wrist injury in February nearly hampered his goal of qualifying for a third straight team.

Replacement Athletes

In addition to the 16 athletes competing in the individual event who are listed on the 530-member U.S. Olympic Team Roster, four fencers (Spear, Kelley Hurley, Willette and Meinhardt) will travel to London where they will serve as replacement athletes who may be used in the team competition.

Fencing competition will be held at the ExCel Center from July 29 – Aug. 5.

The team roster is as follows, including hometown and current residence where applicable:

Men’s Foil
Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)
Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

Miles Chamley-Watson (Philadelphia, Pa. / New York City, N.Y.) 
Replacement Athlete: Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.)

Women’s Foil
Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.)
Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Nicole Ross (New York City, N.Y.)
Replacement Athlete: Doris Willette (Lafayette, Calif.)

Men’s Saber
Daryl Homer (Bronx, N.Y.)
Tim Morehouse (New York City, N.Y.)
James Williams (Sacramento, Calif. / New York City, N.Y.)
Replacement Athlete: Jeff Spear (Wynantskill, N.Y. / New York City, N.Y.)

Women’s Saber
Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.)
Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.)

Men’s Epee
Soren Thompson (San Diego, Calif. / New York City, N.Y.)
Seth Kelsey (Portland, Ore. / Colorado Springs, Colo.)

Women’s Epee
Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas)
Maya Lawrence (Teaneck, N.J.)
Susie Scanlan (St. Paul, Minn.)
Replacement Athlete: Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas)

Team staff members are as follows:

Team Leader
Bob Largman (Mendham, N.J.)

Armorer
Matthew Porter (Pacifica, Calif.)

Athletic Trainer
John Carollo (San Antonio, Texas)

Team Manager 
Courtney Kulick (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

Team Captain / FIE Liaison 
Francisco Martin (Yonkers, N.Y.)

Head Men’s Epee Coach
Sebastien dos Santos (Portland, Ore.)

Head Men’s Foil Coach
Greg Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)

Head Men’s Saber Coach
Yury Gelman (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

Head Women’s Epee Coach
Roberto Sobalvarro (St. Paul, Minn.)

Head Women’s Foil Coach
Amgad Khazbak (Lexington, Ky.)

Head Women’s Saber Coach 
Ed Korfanty (Portland, Ore.)

Foil Coach
Jed Dupree (New York City, N.Y.)

Competition schedule is as follows (All times local):

July 28
Women’s Individual Foil

10:30 a.m. – Round of 64
11:50 a.m. – Round of 32 
2:10 p.m. – Round of 16
3:30 p.m. – Quarter-finals
6 p.m. – Semifinals
7:10 p.m. – Bronze Medal Match
7:40 p.m. – Gold Medal Match

July 29
Men’s Individual Saber
10:30 a.m. – Round of 64
11:30 a.m. – Round of 32
1:10 p.m. – Round of 16
2:10 p.m. – Quarter-finals
6 p.m. – Semi-finals
6:50 p.m. – Bronze Medal Match
7:10 p.m. – Gold Medal Match

July 30
Women’s Individual Epee
10:30 a.m. – Round of 64
11:50 a.m. – Round of 32
2:10 p.m. – Round of 16
3:30 p.m. – Quarter-finals
6 p.m. – Semifinals 
7:10 p.m. – Bronze Medal Match
7:40 p.m. – Gold Medal Match

July 31
Men’s Individual Foil
10:30 a.m. – Round of 64
11:50 a.m. – Round of 32
2:10 p.m. – Round of 16
3:30 p.m. – Quarter-finals
6 p.m. – Semifinals 
7:10 p.m. – Bronze Medal Match
7:40 p.m. – Gold Medal Match

August 1
Men’s Individual Epee
9 a.m. – Round of 32
11:15 a.m. – Round of 16
12:30 p.m. – Quarter-finals
5:30 p.m. – Semifinals 
7:10 p.m. – Bronze Medal Match
8 p.m. – Gold Medal Match

Women’s Individual Saber
1:10 p.m. – Round of 32
2:45 p.m. – Round of 16
3:40 p.m. – Quarter-finals
6:30 p.m. – Semifinals
7:40 p.m. – Bronze Medal Match
8:30 p.m. – Gold Medal Match

August 2
Women’s Team Foil
9 a.m. – Round of 16
10:30 a.m. – Quarter-finals
Noon – Semifinals 
3 p.m. – 5th – 6th and 7th – 8th Place Matches
6 p.m. – Bronze Medal Match
7:15 p.m. – Gold Medal Match

August 3
Men’s Team Saber
11:30 a.m. – Quarter-finals
12:30 p.m. – Semifinals 
2:30 p.m. – 5th – 6th and 7th – 8th Place Matches
6 p.m. – Bronze Medal Match
6:45 p.m. – Gold Medal Match

August 4
Women’s Team Epee
10:30 a.m. – Quarter-finals
Noon – Semifinals 
3 p.m. – 5th – 6th and 7th – 8th Place Matches
6 p.m. – Bronze Medal Match
7:15 p.m. – Gold Medal Match

August 5
Men’s Team Foil

9 a.m. – Round of 16
10:30 a.m. – Quarter-finals
Noon – Semifinals 
3 p.m. – 5th – 6th and 7th – 8th Place Matches
6 p.m. – Bronze Medal Match
7:15 p.m. – Gold Medal Match

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