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Around the Piste: Kharlan takes bronze

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Bronze medal match


Kharlan and Brunet took the piste to determine who would take home bronze. Kharlan took a four point lead but Brunet quickly tied the bout at 9. Kharlan went ahead a point and Brunet made sure to return the favor on the next turn. However, that would be the her last point of the day as Kharlan scored the final five to take home her second consecutive bronze medal in the event.


Semifinals


Manon Brunet, 20, of France took on Velikaya and took an early 6-2 lead. Brunet, who has won two silver medals at Junior World Championships, looked to be in command early. Velikaya tied the bout at 8 but Brunet scored four consecutive points. The veteran Velikaya wouldn't go down quietly and validated her status as the #1 ranked fencer in the world, tying the bout at 14. Velikaya went on to score the winning point to move on to the gold medal match.


Kharlan took the piste against Russia's Yana Egorian. With the bout tied at 5, Kharlan appeared to hurt here hand but was able to continue the bout. Egorian would only allow Kharlan to score 2 points in the second period en route to a  15-9 victory.


Quarterfinals


Kharlan continued to roll in the quarterfinals handily defeating Italian Loretta Gulotta 15-4 while Velikaya fought a tighter match against Berder, winning 15-10.


Round of 16


Muhammad started with an early lead against Cecilia Berder of France but Berder fought back and earned an 8-7 lead at the end of the first period. Muhammad struggled to score points in the second trialing 8-13 with 2:42 left. She scored two consecutive points to pull closer but Berder scored her 14th point needing just one more for victory.


It looked like Muhammad was about to make a comeback when backed to the end of the piste by Berder, she slipped off of it. When this occurs, a point is awarded to the fencer's opponent thus giving Berder the victory.


Zagunis returned to the green piste to face 22-seed Ekaterina Dyachenko of Russia. Zagunis trailed early but came back in the second period to tie the bout at 8. Dyachenko regained a point advantage and managed to pull ahead 14-12. She ultimately scored the last touch to eliminate Zagunis, her worst finish in the individual event to date.


Velikaya was in a closely contested match with France's Charlotte Lembach but she was able to gain a narrow 15-14 victory. Olga Kharlan, another favorite to win gold, defeated fellow teammate Alina Komashchuk.


Round of 32


U.S. fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad made history when she stepped on the piste to face Ukranian fencer Olena Kravatska. Muhammad became the first American to compete in the Olympics wearing a hijab. Kravatska jumped to an early 4-1 lead but Muhammad quickly turned things around pinning her opponent at the end of the piste to score a point. Muhammad scored three consecutive points to take a 7-5 lead but Kratvatska managed to regain the lead.


With cheers of "USA" audibly coming from the crowd, the women returned to the piste for the second period. Muhammad and Kravatska traded points, tying the match several times. Muhammad gained a 14-13 advantage when Kravatska slipped on to the piste and dodged one last attack from Kravatska to score the winning point.


Team USA fencer Mariel Zagunis returned to the piste determined to find her way back into the medal rounds and it's safe to say she got off to a good start. She faced Panamanian fencer Eileen Grench who cruised through the opening round with a 15-5 victory. Zagunis dominated, downing Grench 15-4.


American Dagmara Wozniak took on #12 ranked fencer Vassiliki Vougiouka of Greece. Vougiouka scored four consecutive points before Wozniak got on the scoreboard. Wozniak tied the bout at 5 but Vougiouka only allowed her three more points en route to a 15-8 victory.


On the blue piste gold medal contender Sofya Velikaya of Russia handily defeated Jozwiak 15-5.


Azza Besbes, sister of epee fencer Sarra Besbes, won her match against Sabina Mikina 15-12.


Round of 64


Brazil's Marta Baeza Centurion faced Poland's Bogna Jozwiak. Shortly into their match, Baeza Centurion was injured and unable to continue the bout. She was losing 2-4 when she left the piste. Jozwiak moves on to the Round of 32.


Mexican fencers Ursula Gonzalez Garate and Julieta Toledo drew each other in their first bout of the day. Gonzalez Garate bested her fellow teammate 15-11.



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