| Event type

Sabre, Individual, Women

Date 1 August 2012
LocationExCeL, Newham, London
Participants32 from 25 countries
FormatSingle-elimination tournament.

The big story of the women’s sabre at London 2012 was the attempt of the USA’s Mariel Zagunis to win a third successive Olympic title. Only one woman, Valentina Vezzali of Italy in the foil, had ever performed this feat in the sport. Zagunis had been World Champion in 2009 and 2010 but had fallen at the final hurdle in 2011 where she was beaten by her Russian nemesis Sofiya Velikaya in the gold medal bout.

Unlike many of the fencing events at London, the sabre played out almost exactly to what had been predicted by the seedings with #5 seed Kim Ji-Yeon of Korea being the only fencer to exceed expectations and reach the semi-final stage at the expense of #4 seed Vasiliki Vougiouka of Greece. The first semi-final was between Zagunis and Kim and appeared to be going the way of all previous Olympic bouts involving Zagunis when the American sprinted into a 12-5 but the Korean was made of strong material and mounted a ferocious comeback to tie things up at all before winning the final two points of the match and ending Zagunis’s undefeated Olympic run stretching back to the Athens Olympics. The other semi-final went on similar lines but this time the comeback by Olha Kharlan of Ukraine against Velikaya faltered at the last and the Russian held her nerve to register the final decisive pair of hits.

In contrast to the semis, the final was less of a contest as Kim of Korea raced to an early lead and Velikaya was unable to peg back the deficit. The final score 15-9 in favour of the Korean. This was Korea’s first gold in fencing in 12 years and the first ever by a woman. Zagunis was unable to gain consolation from the bronze medal match as she fell 15-10 to Kharlan.

15Kim Ji-YeonKORGold
22Sofya VelikayaRUSSilver
33Olha KharlanUKRBronze
41Mariel ZagunisUSA
=58Zhu MinCHN
=54Vasiliki VougioukaGRE
=56Irene VecchiITA
=510Dagmara WozniakUSA
=917Seira NakayamaJPN
=99Yuliya GavrilovaRUS
=912Gioia MarzoccaITA
=913Aleksandra SochaPOL
=914Səbinə MikinaAZE
=911Chen XiaodongCHN
=97Azza BesbesTUN
=918Alejandra BenítezVEN
=1732Diah PermatasariINA
=1716Léonore PerrusFRA
=1724Yuliya ZhivitsaKAZ
=1725Bianca PascuROU
=1728Úrsula GonzálezMEX
=1721Belén PérezARG
=1720Sandra SassineCAN
=1729Louise Bond-WilliamsGBR
=1730Margarita ChomakovaBUL
=1719Alexandra BujdosoGER
=1722Amira Ben ChaabaneTUN
=1727Sophie WilliamsGBR
=1726Au Sin YingHKG
=1723Salma ZainEGY
=1715Lee Ra-JinKOR
=1731Lea MoutoussamyALG

Round One

Date1 August 2012
FormatWinner of each match advanced to round two.
MatchDate/TimeLocationCompetitor (Seed)NOCResultCompetitor (Seed)NOC
Bout #101 Aug 13:10Piste BlueMariel Zagunis (1)USA15 – 7Diah Permatasari (32)INA
Bout #201 Aug 13:30Piste BlueSeira Nakayama (17)JPN15 – 12Léonore Perrus (16)FRA
Bout #301 Aug 13:50Piste BlueYuliya Gavrilova (9)RUS15 – 7Yuliya Zhivitsa (24)KAZ
Bout #401 Aug 14:10Piste BlueZhu Min (8)CHN15 – 10Bianca Pascu (25)ROU
Bout #501 Aug 13:10Piste YellowKim Ji-Yeon (5)KOR15 – 3Úrsula González (28)MEX
Bout #601 Aug 13:30Piste YellowGioia Marzocca (12)ITA15 – 10Belén Pérez (21)ARG
Bout #701 Aug 13:50Piste YellowAleksandra Socha (13)POL15 – 7Sandra Sassine (20)CAN
Bout #801 Aug 14:10Piste YellowVasiliki Vougiouka (4)GRE15 – 8Louise Bond-Williams (29)GBR
Bout #901 Aug 13:10Piste GreenOlha Kharlan (3)UKR15 – 8Margarita Chomakova (30)BUL
Bout #1001 Aug 13:30Piste GreenSəbinə Mikina (14)AZE15 – 13Alexandra Bujdoso (19)GER
Bout #1101 Aug 13:50Piste GreenChen Xiaodong (11)CHN15 – 12Amira Ben Chaabane (22)TUN
Bout #1201 Aug 14:10Piste GreenIrene Vecchi (6)ITA15 – 6Sophie Williams (27)GBR
Bout #1301 Aug 13:10Piste RedAzza Besbes (7)TUN15 – 13Au Sin Ying (26)HKG
Bout #1401 Aug 13:30Piste RedDagmara Wozniak (10)USA15 – 6Salma Zain (23)EGY
Bout #1501 Aug 13:50Piste RedAlejandra Benítez (18)VEN15 – 9Lee Ra-Jin (15)KOR
Bout #1601 Aug 14:10Piste RedSofya Velikaya (2)RUS15 – 6Lea Moutoussamy (31)ALG

Round Two

Date1 August 2012
FormatWinner of each match advanced to quarter-finals.
MatchDate/TimeLocationCompetitor (Seed)NOCResultCompetitor (Seed)NOC
Bout #101 Aug 14:45Piste BlueMariel Zagunis (1)USA15 – 9Seira Nakayama (17)JPN
Bout #201 Aug 15:05Piste BlueZhu Min (8)CHN15 – 11Yuliya Gavrilova (9)RUS
Bout #301 Aug 14:45Piste YellowKim Ji-Yeon (5)KOR15 – 7Gioia Marzocca (12)ITA
Bout #401 Aug 15:05Piste YellowVasiliki Vougiouka (4)GRE15 – 7Aleksandra Socha (13)POL
Bout #501 Aug 14:45Piste GreenOlha Kharlan (3)UKR15 – 10Səbinə Mikina (14)AZE
Bout #601 Aug 15:05Piste GreenIrene Vecchi (6)ITA15 – 10Chen Xiaodong (11)CHN
Bout #701 Aug 14:45Piste RedDagmara Wozniak (10)USA15 – 13Azza Besbes (7)TUN
Bout #801 Aug 15:05Piste RedSofya Velikaya (2)RUS15 – 10Alejandra Benítez (18)VEN


Date1 August 2012
FormatWinner of each match advanced to semi-finals.
MatchDate/TimeLocationCompetitor (Seed)NOCResultCompetitor (Seed)NOC
Bout #101 Aug 15:40Piste BlueMariel Zagunis (1)USA15 – 6Zhu Min (8)CHN
Bout #201 Aug 15:40Piste YellowKim Ji-Yeon (5)KOR15 – 12Vasiliki Vougiouka (4)GRE
Bout #301 Aug 15:40Piste GreenOlha Kharlan (3)UKR15 – 9Irene Vecchi (6)ITA
Bout #401 Aug 15:40Piste RedSofya Velikaya (2)RUS15 – 13Dagmara Wozniak (10)USA


Date1 August 2012
FormatWinner of each match advanced to final pool.
MatchDate/TimeLocationCompetitor (Seed)NOCResultCompetitor (Seed)NOC
Bout #101 Aug 18:30Piste FinalKim Ji-Yeon (5)KOR15 – 13Mariel Zagunis (1)USA
Bout #201 Aug 18:50Piste FinalSofya Velikaya (2)RUS15 – 12Olha Kharlan (3)UKR

Final Round

Date1 August 2012
MatchDate/TimeLocationCompetitor (Seed)NOCResultCompetitor (Seed)NOC
Bout 1/201 Aug 20:30Piste FinalKim Ji-Yeon (5)KOR15 – 9Sofya Velikaya (2)RUS
Bout 3/401 Aug 19:40Piste FinalOlha Kharlan (3)UKR15 – 10Mariel Zagunis (1)USA