WSMV News 4

Sangyoung Park wins epee gold in stunner

Posted: Updated:

South Korean fencer Sangyoung Park has won the gold medal in the men's individual epee, coming from behind to defeat veteran Geza Imre of Hungary.

The first time Olympian fought an impressive battle, tying the bout twice early on to keep pace with the 41-year-old Imre.

Late in the bout, Imre needed just one more point to earn his first gold medal.

Trailing by four points--an insurmountable sum for many, never mind a 20-year-old at his first Olympics--Park's resiliency and tenacity, traits that were present throughout all of his matches, began to take over.

Fencing's future was caught in a stare down with a man who has seen it all--and never blinked.

Park scored five points consecutively to win the bout and earn South Korea its first medal in any epee event.

He went to his knees letting out a scream of joy backed by cheers from the appreciative crowd.

A South Korean flag was given to him and he began waving it around the arena with the biggest smile on his face.

Park missed the majority of 2015 after suffering a knee injury that requried surgery. Now he has become a part of Olympic history.

"It was very hard for me to come back from my injury," he told the AP in Rio. "I kept thinking about the Olympics and taking part in it. That's what got me back on track."

For Imre, it's a disappointing end his medal aspirations and his demeanor said as much during the medal ceremony.

Imre began his Olympic career in Atlanta in 1996, winning bronze in the individual epee. The now five-time Olympian won silver in Athens in the team event but had never won a gold medal.

He pondered retirement after losing in the Round of 32 at the 2013 World Championships but changed his mind two months later and began training for Rio with the hope of capturing the elusive gold.

The disappointment will linger but, Imre has nothing to be ashamed of. In 2015 he won gold at Worlds, becoming the oldest fencer in history to win a world title.

And in Rio, he stood at the podium 20 years later with another individual medal, becoming the oldest Olympic individual medalist since 1952 when 42-year-old Hungarian Aladar Gurevich won silver in the men's sabre event.

"It's big," Imre told the AP. "But silver is the first loser."

It might not be how he planned it but, it's certainly not a bad way to end a successful career.

Powered by Frankly
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2018, WSMV; Nashville, TN. (A Meredith Corporation Station) . All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.