Mariel Zagunis is ranked 1st in the world, and she begins the 2009 world championships boasting gold medals in 4 of the last 5 events in which she competed. Her worst finish was a 5th place standing at the Moscow Grand Prix.
Mariel is only the second American to have won the coveted gold medal in Olympic fencing. She competed at the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics. Before competing at the Olympics, she held the Junior World Cup Champion title from 2002 – 2004. She also nabbed the FIE World Championship gold as the youngest ever winner, and won its over-all medal three years consecutively in addition to being the second U.S. fencer to win its World Cup total-points Title.
Zagunis has won seven World Champion titles in the women’s team event. She is the only fencer to win four World Championship titles in the space of one season.
|Sada Jacobson, Mariel Zagunis, and Becca Ward share the podium. Photo FencingPhotos.com|
Her history-making 2004 Olympic performance nearly did not happen, and Zagunis was able to compete due to Nigeria’s decision not to send a fencer to the Olympics. As the highest-ranking fencer who had not already qualified for the event Zagunis was sent. The result was the first American gold in the sport of fencing in 100 years. She defeated Tan Xue, a former world champion of China.
In 2008, she prevailed again, winning a second gold medal in the Individual Sabre event, and being instrumental in the women’s team winning a bronze medal in the Team Saber event.
In her off time, Zagunis is active in other sports, including soccer, tennis, and bike riding. Planning a major in Anthropology at the University of Notre Dame, she has goals for the future outside of her fencing aspirations.
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