(L-R) Mariel Zagunis competes against Olga Kharlan of Ukraine in the women's saber individual fencing bronze-medal match at the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on Aug. 1, 2012 in London.
Mariel Zagunis, currently ranked No. 5 in the world in women’s saber fencing, won the bronze medal at the world cup Saturday in Foshan, China.
Olga Kharlan of Ukraine, No. 3 in women’s saber, won the event after a 15-13 semifinal victory over Zagunis, a two-time Olympic champion who will compete in her fourth Olympic Games this summer in Rio de Janeiro. Kharlan defeated South Korea’s Kim Ji-Yeon, the 2012 Olympic champion, 15-11 in the final.
The daughter of two Olympic rowers, Zagunis won Olympic gold in Athens (the debut of women’s saber at the Games and the first fencing gold by a U.S. athlete in 100 years) and Beijing and was part of the bronze-medal team in Beijing. She finished fourth in London, where she also served as Team USA’s Opening Ceremony flag bearer.
Her bronze in Foshan marked her third medal of the five 2015-16 world cup stops, which included wins in Caracas, Venezuela, and Athens, Greece.
Zagunis won her pool and began the elimination phase of the tournament Saturday with a 15-9 win over China’s Fu Ying, followed by a 15-8 victory over Norika Tamura of Japan. Next up was South Korea’s Jiyeon Seo, ranked No. 17 in the world. She pressed the five-time world cup champion before falling 15-13. Hungary’s Anna Marton, No. 8 in the world, fell to Zagunis 15-12 in the quarterfinals.
Ibtihaj Muhammad, who is also headed to Rio for her Olympic debut, finished 11th for the United States, while Monica Aksamit placed 21st, Kamali Thompson finished 54th, Sage Palmedo was 60th and Francesca Russo 61st.