Mariel Zagunis’ domination of the Olympic championship ended in Rio last night, as Yana Egorian become the second sabreuse to claim the title with victory over Sofya Velikaya.
Yana Egorian RUS started the day as fifth seed following an erratic season on the international circuit that brought as many early exits as podium finishes. However, the 22-year-old brought the form of her life to knock out Arrayales MEX, Vougiouka GRE and teammate Dyachenko (who reached the last eight by overturning double Olympic champion Zagunis USA.) Egorian was much the underdog against world number two Olga Kharlan UKR, but overpowered Kharlan 15-9 in a high-octane semi-final.
Sofya Velikaya, the world number one and hot favourite, defeated Jozwiak POL, Lembach FRA and Berder FRA, setting up a semi-final against the third member of the French team, Manon Brunet. Velikaya edged a controversial 15-14 victory against reigning U20 European champion, lining up an all-Russian gold medal match.
Energy met experience in the final as the compatriots fenced off for the Olympic championship, going right down to the wire in a 15-14 thriller. As Egorian celebrated gold, Velikaya had to be content with a second consecutive Olympic silver medal. Rounding out the podium was Olga Kharlan, who brought home her second Olympic bronze after a 15-10 victory over Brunet.