Beijing - Mariel Zagunis won the sabre gold medal as in 2004 to lead an historic fencing medal sweep for the United States at the Beijing Olympics on Saturday.
It was the first US medals in Beijing, the country's first sweep in fencing and only the second in women's fencing, following the West German success led by Anja Fichtel at the 1988 Games' foil event.
Zagunis, 23, beat Sada Jacobsen 15-8 in the gold medal tussle with Rebecca Ward assuring the sweep by coming back from 11-8 down to beat Russia's Sofiya Velikaya of Russia 15-14 in the bronze medal bout.
"It is absolutely amazing. We made history today. I am proud of myself as well as Sada and Becca," said the elated Zagunis. "It is really a dream come true but I am glad its over."
Zagunis said that the first gold four years ago in Athens had not stopped her hunger for more success. "I wanted a gold medal. I always wanted it in the past four years ... I wouldn't care if it is my first or last. It is mine," she said.
While the US trio was among the favourites - Ward won the 2006 world title and Jacobsen took Olympic bronze in 2004 - there were some upsets in the competition.
World champion Elenena Nechaeva went out in her first bout. There was also big disappointment for the Chinese crowd when, plagued by a foot injury, the world championship and 2004 Olympic runner-up Tan Xue crashed 15-9 to Velikaya in the quarter-finals.
"The floor is a bit too hard and I didn't feel comfortable. It is definitely a distraction," said Tan, who also admitted that she "failed to adjust my strategy according to my opponent's moves." (dpa)