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Team USA on a Mission for Gold at Team Worlds in Rio

04/24/2016, 12:48pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

The U.S. Men's Saber Team after its gold medal win at the Warsaw World Cup.

The U.S. Women's Foil Team won the first of its two bronze medals this season in Cancun.

(Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – For the U.S. Men’s Saber and Women’s Foil Teams, the World Team Championships next week will be their lone chance to win gold in Rio this year.

As part of the rotation of team events on the Olympic program, both of these weapons will be contested as individual events only when the Games are held in August.

The World Team Championships are held as a standalone event every four years for the two events not on that year’s program and, this year, the event will take place as a test event for the Rio Olympic Games.

Both of Team USA’s squads are considered to be contenders for the podium with the U.S. Men’s Saber Team holding the No. 1 world ranking after three medal wins on the World Cup circuit this year and the U.S. Women’s Foil Team winning bronze at both the Cancun and Algiers World Cups.

Competition begins on Monday with the table of 32 and 16 rounds. The women’s foil quarter-finals and medal rounds will take place on Tuesday at the Carioca Arena 3 in Olympic Park. The men’s events also will be held in the Olympic venue on Wednesday.

The U.S. Men’s Saber Team has had its most successful season since Team USA won silver at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. Anchored by 2015 Senior World silver medalist Daryl Homer (Bronx, N.Y.), who recently qualified for his second Olympic Team, the team includes Homer’s 2012 teammate, Jeff Spear (Wynantskill, N.Y.), 2016 Olympic qualifier Eli Dershwitz (Sherborn, Mass.) and Peter Souders (Silver Spring, Md.) who won gold with Team USA at the 2015 Pan Ams and was a key component of each of the teams that medaled on the circuit this season.

As the top seed in the event, Team USA drew a bye into the 16 where the Americans will fence either Japan or Canada with the winner meeting either Iran or France – a team the United States defeated in the finals of the first World Cup this season in Tbilisi.

Team USA’s best challenger in the top half of the bracket could be Germany – the 2014 Senior World Champions. Ranked fourth in the world, Germany could face the United States in a semifinal matchup.

On the other side of the bracket sits a trio of past World and Olympic Champions, including Italy, the reigning World Champions; Russia, who won gold in 2013; and Korea who won gold at the 2012 Olympic Games.

Now ranked No. 1 and 2 in the world, Team USA and Russia have fought close matches throughout the season with the United States taking gold over Russia, 45-43, at the Warsaw World Cup in February and falling to the same team, 45-44, in Budapest in November.

The U.S. Women’s Foil Team also has had one of its most successful seasons since Team USA won silver at the Beijing Olympic Games. Team USA features three members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team – Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.), Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Nicole Ross (New York City, N.Y.) Kiefer and Prescod are both past bronze medalists in the individual event at the Senior Worlds who recently qualified for their second Olympic Games in Rio. Team USA’s fourth athlete is Sabrina Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) who placed in the top 16 at her first individual Senior Worlds last year and won gold at the Junior Worlds earlier this month.

Team USA will fence Colombia in the table of 16 with the winner taking on either Brazil or France in the quarter-finals. An early matchup against France will be a challenging one for the Americans as the French team has medaled at the last three World Championships, but Team USA dominated its last meeting with France with a 45-21 win in the bronze medal final in Algiers.

Known as the “Dream Team,” Italy has won gold at every Worlds and Olympic Games since London and has only lost one final on this stage since 2009. Ranked No. 1, a trip to the semis would pit Team USA against Italy – a matchup the Americans won in Gdansk, Poland last year.

On the opposite side of the table, No. 2 seed Russia is considered a near lock for a medal after 10 straight consecutive podium finishes at the Worlds or Olympic Games, including a gold medal upset of Italy in 2011.

Click here to view live results.

The complete competition schedule is as follows:

Monday, April 25 EsEFEx Arena
9:30 a.m.
Women’s Team Foil Table of 16

10 a.m.
Men’s Team Saber Table of 32

11:30 a.m.
Men’s Team Saber Table of 16

1:30 p.m.
Women’s Team Foil 9th – 16th Place Table

2 p.m.
Men’s Team Saber 9th – 16th Place Table

Tuesday, April 26 Olympic Park Carioca 3
10:30 a.m.
Women’s Team Foil Quarter-finals

Women’s Team Foil 5th – 8th Place Table

1:15 p.m.
Women’s Team Foil Semifinals

4 p.m.
Women’s Team Foil Bronze Medal Final

5:30 p.m.
Women’s Team Foil Gold Medal Final

Wednesday, April 27 Olympic Park Carioca 3
10:15 a.m.
Men’s Team Saber Quarter-finals

11:30 a.m.
Men’s Team Saber 5th – 8th Place Table

12:30 p.m.
Men’s Team Saber Semifinals

3 p.m.
Men’s Team Saber Bronze Medal Final

4:15 p.m.
Men’s Team Saber Gold Medal Final 

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