Learn more about Olympic sabreuse Mariel Zagunis and fencing

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Learn more about Olympic sabreuse Mariel Zagunis and fencing originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest

Mariel Zagunis of Beaverton is the most decorated fencer in American fencing history. Her parents were both rowers on the 1976 U.S. Olympic team.

With her sights now turned to Tokyo, Zagunis explained how gender equality has come a long way in fencing.

“One of the biggest improvements in our sport has been to let women shoot sabers and see that yes we can do it,” Zagunis said.

The four-time Olympic medalist grew up in Beaverton, Ore., And attended Valley Catholic from Kindergarten to Grade 12. She took a sword for the first time at the age of 10.

And now Zagunis continues the work of gender equality in the sport of fencing.

“The women’s saber was at the Olympics for the first time in 2004, Zagunis said. “So you can imagine that fencing has been one of the original sports of the Olympics since 1896 and we didn’t even achieve gender equality until 2004. I think that was a really big step. forward. ”

Since then, the women’s saber has developed, and women’s fencing in general has grown… I think there could still be a lot of improvement in the way that female athletes are viewed, especially in fencing.

Mariel Zagunis

In 2004, Zagunis won her first Olympic gold medal at the 2004 Athens Games in individual saber after beating Chinese fencer Xue Tan in the championship round, 15-9. With the victory, she also became the first American to win an Olympic gold medal in fencing in 100 years.

She was only 19 years old.

Here is a list of the complete achievements of Zagunis, via TeamUSA:

Olympic experience

· Four-time Olympian (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016); Quadruple Olympic medalist (2 gold, 2 bronze)

· Rio 2016 Olympic Games, 9th (individual); bronze (team)

· London 2012 Olympic Games, 4th (individual)

· 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, gold (individual); bronze (team)

· Athens 2004 Olympic Games, gold (individual)

World Championship Experience

· Most recent: 2019 – 14th (individual)

· Years of participation: 2000-2017, 2019-present

· Medals: 14 (5 gold, 5 silver, 4 bronzes)

· Gold – 2000 (team); 2005 (team); 2009 (individual); 2010 (individual); 2014 (team)

· Silver – 2004 (team); 2006 (individual, team); 2011 (individual); 2014 (individual)

· Bronze – 2011 (team); 2012 (team); 2013 (team); 2015 (team)

Other career highlights

· Pan American Games 2015, gold (team); 8th (individual)

· 2011 Pan American Games, gold (individual, team)

“Fencing can be very aggressive,” Zagunis said. “We have our armor and we are screaming at each other in our faces and if this was real life we ​​would literally be fighting to the death.” So it seems to some people – maybe not so feminine. “

But I think strength is beauty and power is awesome and women are just as capable as men.

And Zagunis has proven it.

“I’ve fenced a lot of men in training, and they haven’t made us compete together, but I’ve fenced men who think there’s no way a woman can beat them, and I did it and it feels good.


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