Vezzali wins record third foil gold
August 12, 2008, 12:00 am TWN
BEIJING -- Valentina Vezzali of Italy won a record third consecutive Olympic women's individual foil gold on Monday, breaking a tie with four seconds left to defeat South Korean Nam Hyun-Hee 6-5.
Vezzali was down 5-4 with 41 seconds to go and lost a video replay challenge. But she charged ahead and tied the score, setting up the heart-stopping finish.
The 34-year-old world number one has now won more individual Olympic golds than any other fencer.
"I have to first off all thank my little boy Pietro, who is waiting for me," she said. "I always gave my heart and soul to this sport."
Vezzali began the final in total control, using cat-like moves to patiently set up her attacks and go up 3-0. Then the fleet-footed Nam managed to avoid several charges from the Italian and hit on the counterattack to turn the score around, coming close to an upset.
But it was not meant to be for the Korean, as her desperate attacks in the final four seconds came to naught. As the time hit zero, Vezzali's coach ran on the piste, picked the champion up and carried her around the venue on his shoulders.
In an all-Italian bronze medal match, Margherita Granbassi defeated 1992 gold medalist and five-time Olympian Giovanna Trillini 15-12.
Italy's Valentina Vezzali reacts after defeating Korea's Nam Hyun-Hee in the gold medal competition in the women's individual foil fencing event at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing ...