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Mariel Zagunis Q&A: Going for the Three-Peat in London

03/20/2012, 6:01am CDT
By No Author

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Two-time Olympic Champion Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.) qualified for her third Olympic Team on Saturday when she ended the Olympic qualification season with a bronze medal at the Moscow Grand Prix – her third medal in four international tournaments since February.

Zagunis has returned to Portland where she will train in preparation for the World Team Championships which will be held in Kiev, Ukraine on April 13. Since neither men’s epee nor women’s saber will be contested as team events in London, the World Team Championships will serve as the opportunity for the U.S. Women’s Saber Team to return to the podium after winning bronze in Catania at the 2011 Senior World Championships.

Zagunis answered questions on qualifying for her third Olympic Team, working for a third gold and competing with Team USA in Kiev…

Q: What does it feel like to qualify for your third straight team?

A: Although I am ranked #1 in the world and it's been obvious that I was going to make the Olympic Team, it's never over until it's over. It was difficult to try to explain that to people, but now I am happy and relieved that the qualifying period is over and I can officially say that I am headed to London for my third Olympics! It is an amazing feeling not only to qualify, but to know that I will be representing Team USA and in a few months will be fencing for my third consecutive gold medal.

Q: You've medaled in three of four tournaments so far this season. How do you feel you're fencing has progressed since the break after Worlds?

A: I think my results so far this season have been solid, and for the most part I am pleased. However, there is still a lot I can do in order to improve upon my overall performance. To fence and perform well in a competition requires a delicate balance mentally, physically and emotionally. Since Worlds I have been working on finding and keeping that balance and making sure I can retain it throughout the season and on through London.

Q: What is it like to be going into the Games as the two-time Champion?

There has definitely been a lot more media attention on me than in previous Olympics! But overall I'm just enjoying the ride and going to have fun in London, without thinking about any past accomplishments. Athens and Beijing were so long ago and fencing has changed a lot, so I am just going to go into the Olympics as if it were any other big competition.

Q: What do you want to work on during the next month before Kiev?

A: The women’s sabre squad is going to have a training camp in Portland the week before Team World Championships. It will be important for us to prepare and train together, because it will be good for our team dynamic and motivation. During this camp we will fence a lot with each other, but more importantly we will be focusing on our tactics and strategy for approaching other teams. This will require many hours of video review and tactical and situational drills. In the most recent World Cup in Antalya we had a great result with second place and fenced strong teams like Italy and Ukraine really well. I think this camp will benefit us a great deal and I am really looking forward to competing with my teammates in Kiev. 

Tag(s): News