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U.S. Wins Silver in Men's Team Sabre Competition

08/18/2008, 11:33am CDT
By No Author

BEIJING, China - The U.S. men's sabre team won the silver medal in Olympic competition held Sunday evening at the Fencing Hall. In the gold medal match, the Americans fell to France 45-37 to conclude the fencing competition at the 2008 Olympic Games.

The silver medal is only the second won by the United States in team sabre competition. The other was a bronze won at the 1948 London Olympic Games. The U.S. team was comprised of Tim Morehouse (Bronx, N.Y.), Keeth Smart (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Jason Rogers (Los Angeles, Calif.) and James Williams (Sacramento, Calif.).

"To be a part of history for U.S. men's fencing is truly an honor," said Smart. "This is the best ending I could dream of. This is the greatest team I've ever been a part of. I'm speechless. This is amazing right now."

"This is the fruition of 15-20 years of work," Morehouse said.

The U.S. reached the gold-medal match with two nail-biting 45-44 wins, first over second-seeded Hungary, and then over third-seeded Russia. The Americans were seeded seventh in the eight-team field.

In the quarterfinal match versus Hungary, Smart outscored Zsolt Nemcsik in the final round, 9-5, to erase a 40-36 deficit and secure the win.

"When you've got Mariano Rivera in the bullpen and you can get it close in the ninth (inning) - that's my strategy," said Morehouse referring to Smart closing out the match.

"We haven't beaten Hungary in four years since the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, so for us to have risen to the occasion was significant," said Smart. "We weren't going to roll over."

Facing Russia in the semifinals, it was Smart again to the rescue in the final round, overcoming a 40-35 deficit against Stanislav Pozdnyakov.

"That was the exact opposite of the bronze-medal match at Athens (2004 Olympic Games)," said Morehouse. "At that match we were up, Keeth versus Pozdnyakov and Pozdnyakov came back and won. This time we were down 35-40 and Keeth came back and won. Keeth hit the equivalent of two grand slams in the bottom of the ninth today. He's been holding down U.S. Fencing for so long. I'm so happy for Keeth."

"I think we were just bracing ourselves," said Rogers of the two matches that came down to the last touch. "I have to give it to Keeth. He was a hero today."

The U.S. fencing contingent finishes the Games with six medals (one gold, three silver and two bronze) with 10 of the 13 Olympic Team members sharing in the medal count.

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