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France gets gold in team saber

08/17/2008, 9:16am CDT
By No Author

BEIJING (AP) France won the gold medal in men's team saber, defeating a scrappy U.S. team that simply ran out of comebacks.

Julien Pillet, Boris Sanson and Nicolas Lopez won by a score of 45-37 over the U.S. team of Keeth Smart, Tim Morehouse and James Williams. The Americans came from behind to win their previous two matches, but they couldn't dig out of an early 5-1 hole. France coasted to the win.

Smart scored the final touch in two straight come-from-behind 45-44 victories to send the Americans to the gold medal bout. Four years ago, the U.S. missed out on a medal because of back-to-back 45-44 losses.

They wouldn't come back in this one, but Smart, who endured the death of both parents and a rare blood disorder since 2004, finally had his first medal.

It is the second straight team gold medal for Pillet, who was part of the first-place team in Athens and also won a team silver in 2000.

"It's a beautiful day," Pillet said. "Today we suffered a lot, but it has been superb. It has been years that we have worked for this. Ever since Athens 2004 I have been dreaming of this gold medal."

He's not sure of his future in the sport, but does know what he's looking forward to now.

"First of all, a break - because it was not easy winning this gold medal here in Beijing," he said.

Italy beat Russia 45-44 for the bronze.

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