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U.S. Women’s Epee Fencers Eliminated in Olympic Table of 32

08/06/2016, 8:00pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Courtney Hurley right) fenced Yana Shemyakina (UKR) in the table of 32. Photo Credit: Augusto Bizzi / FIE

(Rio de Janeiro) – The individual women’s epee competition ended in the early rounds for Team USA on Saturday at Carioca Arena 3.

Courtney and Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) and Kat Holmes (Washington, D.C.) each lost close bouts in the table of 32.

For the second straight Games, Courtney Hurley drew the reigning Olympic Champion in her first bout.

After a bye into the table of 32, Hurley faced 2012 Olympic Champion Yana Shemyakina (UKR) who took a 6-5 lead after the first period. Hurley gave up just one touch in the second period, however, and was up, 9-7, at the second break. With a 13-10 lead in the third, however, Hurley saw Shemyakina score three straight singles to force an overtime period where she picked up the final touch for a 14-13 win.

“I didn’t want to get into priority and I was trying to avoid it,” said Hurley who has no memory of the last touch. “I blacked out. In my heart, I knew I was going to lose. I’ve lost every single time in priority to that girl, so I think I lost before it even started.”

Hurley, who won bronze with her older sister Kelley in the team event in London, had hopes of advancing to the later rounds of the individual event at her second Games.

“You fence and you’re out. Nine minutes and you’re out,” she said. “Everyone is hyping it up all year long and then you’re done and you’re out in nine minutes.”

Fencing in her third Olympic Games, older sister Kelley Hurley entered Rio with both individual and team positions after serving as the team replacement athlete in 2012 and fencing only individual in 2008.

Hurley drew former Senior World medalist Nathalie Moellhausen (BRA) in front of a raucous crowd.

Although Moellhausen led from the start, Hurley came within a touch of a tie in the third period at 11-10. Moellhausen scored three of the next four touches and doubled out for a 15-12 victory.

Hurley said the bout slipped out of her fingers quickly in the third period.

“That all happened in like 10 seconds … Not so much that I lost control, more just that the moment was so fleeting. I feel like it was a dream and I’m actually about to fence the match now,” the elder Hurley said. “Every day is different. I’ve beaten her in the past, she’s beaten me in the past. I knew it would be close.”

Despite an intense crowd, Hurley didn’t blame the noise for her defeat.

“That’s not the reason I lost. I lost because she was the better fencer today. That’s the saddest part about fencing is that someone has to win, someone has to lose. On any given day it could be anybody,” she said.

Although Courtney and Kelley Hurley fenced in different rotations, Kelley missed her sister’s bout while she was in the call room.

“I didn’t see her bout at all. I was in the back and there were three Russians back there and they wanted to watch, so I kept saying ‘please let me see the score. Please let me see the score.’ At some point, she was up, 13-10, and I was like ‘yes, yes, yes!’ and they wouldn’t let me look at it again and I had to come back out and that’s when I saw she lost, 14-13,” said Kelley who noted she was likely affected by the loss before she fenced. “The person in the yellow shirt, one of the volunteers, saw me with my head in my hands after Courtney lost and she was like ‘No no, don’t worry about it. Worry about your own match.’ I’m sure it definitely put me in a mood, but I did it to myself.”

Holmes fenced 2014 Senior World bronze medalist Erika Kirpu (EST) for the first time in an individual event since the two were juniors.

With the score tied at two in the second period, Kirpu and Holmes received a passivity call that pushed the bout into the third period with no break.

Kirpu held a 4-3 lead, but Holmes took a single to tie the bout at four and send the bout into overtime.

Kirpu pushed Holmes back down the strip in overtime and scored a single to win the bout, 5-4.

Holmes said that her strategy didn’t change in overtime.

“How I do it, it’s no different. It’s no different than the first touch. It’s no different than a touch in the middle of a bout. If you choose to do it differently, it adds extra pressure and that’s not good for the bout. I just fence my own game and play my own game. In epee, anybody can win on any given day,” Holmes said. “I’ve never been better prepared for an event in my life and it came down to one touch. In epee, anyone can give on any given day, particularly in overtime. I put my best foot out there and there’s nothing else I could have done to be better prepared. I fenced the match well. I fenced smart, but that’s epee.”

Holmes and the Hurleys will have another chance at the medal stand on Aug. 11 when they fence in the team event with replacement athlete Katarzyna Trzopek (Redwood City, Calif.)

Competition continues on Sunday with the men’s individual foil events.

The schedule for Sunday is as follows, including links to live streams and results (All times local, Eastern +1)

Men’s Foil: Sunday, Aug. 7
First Bouts for Team USA
Table of 32
10 a.m.
Green: No. 3 Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.) vs. winner of No. 30 Max Van Haaster (CAN) vs. No. 35 Antonio Leal (VEN)

11 a.m.

Yellow: No. 15 Miles Chamley-Watson (New York City, N.Y) vs. No. 18 Artur Akhmatkhuzin (RUS)

11:30 a.m.

Yellow: No. 2 Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) vs. winner of No. 31 Mohamed Essam (EGY) vs. No. 34 Henrique Marques (BRA)
Live Stream


4 p.m.


5:15 p.m.
Bronze Medal Final


5:45 p.m.
Gold Medal Final


Click here to view complete results.


Top eight and U.S. results are as follows:


Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games Women’s Individual Epee
1. Emese Szasz (HUN)
2. Rossella Fiamingo (ITA)
3. Yiwen Sun (CHN)
4. Lauren Rembi (FRA)
5. Sarra Besbes (TUN)
6. Nathalie Moellhausen (BRA)
7. Injeong Choi (KOR)
8. Nozomi Sato (JPN)

23. Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas)
24. Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas)
25. Kat Holmes (Washington, D.C.)

Tag(s): News  Courtney Hurley  Kelley Hurley  Kat Holmes