Catholic high school grad wins gold in Olympic fencing competition
Published: August 18, 2004
PORTLAND, Ore. (CNS) -- A 2003 graduate of Valley Catholic High School in Beaverton made an emphatic point at the 2004 Olympic Games. Mariel Zagunis, one of the world's top-rated fencers, won a gold medal for the United States in saber competition Aug. 17. It was the first time women had competed in the saber event in Olympic history. Zagunis, 19, almost did not make it to Athens. Her one-point loss against heralded U.S. teammate Sada Jacobsen in an Olympic qualifying match last March seemed to dash her long-held hopes of making the Olympic team. But when Nigeria withdrew one of its fencers from competition one day in June, the International Fencing Federation could not find another African fencer and turned to the American to fill out the competition. The federation put Zagunis into an Olympic slot she was all too happy to fill. She made it to the gold medal match in close rounds and then cruised through the final against China's Xue Tan before a large crowd, winning by a score of 15-9. Zagunis' teammates picked her up and tossed her skyward in celebration.
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