Host City: Beijing, China
Venue(s): Olympic Green Convention Center, Beijing
Date Started: August 17, 2008
Date Finished: August 17, 2008
Format: Single-elimination tournament.
That France should reach the 2008 Olympic final was not a surprise since they had been World Champions in 2006 and silver medallists the following year. In addition they had produced two of the semi-finalists in the individual event that took place a few days earlier. However their opponents could not reasonably have been predicted at the start of the Games. By 2008 the USA had established themselves as one of the strongest nations in the women's side of the sport but success amongst male fencers had not matched that of American female fencers.
US hopes of a medal seemed sure to be thwarted when there were drawn against the Hungarian World Champions in the first round and when [Keeth Smart] took to the piste the Americans trailed Hungary 40-36. Smart then proceeded to win 9 of the next 13 to clinch an unlikely sudden death victory for his team. Amazingly Smart repeated the feat in the semi-final taking the USA from a five point deficit to another sudden death victory by 45-44 over Russia. What made Smart's feat even more remarkable was that his comeback came against [Stanislav Pozdnyakov], widely acknowledged as the best sabre fencer of his generation.
For the Americans the Olympic championship was one fairy tale too far and reality set in the form of [Nicolas Lopez], [Julien Pillet] and [Boris Sanson]. Smart made one last effort to peg back the French lead but this time the margin was too much and France ran out winners by 45-37. Smart's sister [Erinn] matched her brother's feat with a silver medal in team foil. Italy took the bronze medal in yet another match that was decided by a single point.