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Vet Worlds Day 2: USA Wins Gold in Men’s Saber Team, Ending Italy’s Run of Five in a Row

10/12/2023, 7:15pm CDT
By Bryan Wendell & Nicole Kirk

The team of Steve Dashnaw, Garik Gutman, Steven Heck, Mark Lundborg, Joseph Streb and Ron Thornton grabbed Team USA’s first gold in the event since 2015.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — There’s nothing quite like the team event in fencing, where athletes prove that we’re stronger together.

When the team events debuted at Vet Worlds in 2014, the U.S. won the Men’s Saber Team title in each of the first two contests. After that, Italy went on a five-tournament streak, winning in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2022. (Vet Worlds wasn’t held in 2020 or 2021.) 

That streak ended Thursday at the 2023 FIE Veteran Fencing World Championships, hosted by USA Fencing in Daytona Beach, Fla., where Team USA returned to the top of the medal stand.

But no single member of the strong Team USA squad (Steve DashnawGarik GutmanSteven HeckMark Lundborg,Joseph Streb and Ron Thornton) did it alone. Each had moments of brilliance on Thursday — and each had times when they needed a teammate to pick them up.

“Thank goodness for Joseph Streb,” Mark Lundborg says. “And Ron [Thornton] — they fenced the bouts of their lives in that team event. They saved me when I was even. I did well in the early rounds, but the other guys did better later on.”

Team USA ended Italy’s impressive streak in convincing fashion, winning in the finals by a score of 30-16.

“It feels good — fantastic,” Lundborg says. “We lost by one touch last year, so this feels amazing.”

In the Vet team event, squads of six race to be the first to 30 touches. The six-leg matchup pits 50s against 50s, 60s against 60s and 70+ against 70+. Team USA’s 70+ rep, Streb, had won the Vet-70 Men’s Saber individual event a day earlier and continued his strong performance on Thursday, winning his two legs 5-1 and 5-1 to extend the Americans’ lead. 

“He did so tremendously well,” Gutman says of his fellow Vet-70 fencer.

The athletes hadn’t been on a team together before in this combination but through victory after victory, they became lifelong friends. They’ll always and forever be the 2023 World Champions.

“It's great to be on this team with all these great guys,” Heck says. “Everybody fenced fantastic.”

“It’s been a long time coming,” adds Thornton. “It was nice to be able to put it all together and make this happen for us.”

In the Vet Women’s Foil Team event, the gold medal final featured a rematch of last year’s title tilt — with the same result. 

The squad of Jane CarterJude OfferleJulie SealJennette Starks-FaulknerDeb Theriault and Anne-Marie Walters battled hard but ultimately lost to Italy in overtime, 25-24.

All photos by Serge Timacheff

Day 2 Results — Medalists and Team USA

Women’s Foil Team

Gold and 2023 Veteran World Champions: Italy (Elena Benucci, Gianna Cirillo, Iris Gardini, Marinella Garzini, Liqin Wei, Francesca Zurlo)
Silver: USA (Jane Carter, Jude Offerle, Julie Seal, Jennette Starks-Faulkner, Deb Theriault and Anne-Marie Walters)
Bronze: Germany (Margaretha Dresen-Kuchalski, Barbel Gorius, Astrid Kircheis, Hilke Kollmetz, Angelika Schramm, Silke Weltzien)

Men’s Saber Team

Gold and 2023 Veteran World Champions: USA (Steve Dashnaw, Garik Gutman, Steven Heck, Mark Lundborg, Joseph Streb and Ron Thornton)
Silver: Italy (Riccardo Carmina, Oliver Emmerich, Luca Falaschi, Alberto Feira Chios, Fabrizio Filippi, Stefano Lanciotti)
Bronze: Great Britain (Richard Cohen, Nicholas Fletcher, Julian Ghosh, Carl Morris, Roger Nickless, Edward Simpson)

Vet Worlds Photo Gallery

Find Day 2 photos on the USA Fencing Facebook page.

Live and On Demand Video

Find video from the tournament on the FIE YouTube channel.

Tag(s): Updates