2012 medal projection update: Fencing

The original post makes the requisite Inigo Montoya reference. Unfortunately, it also got some of the events wrong. They change up the team events from time to time. We’ll have a few corrections to make.

The federation has a handy list of qualifiers. See how they do that, other federations?

Here we go …

Men’s épée: Last time, we mentioned the lack of consistency in this event. We were right. 2010 world champion Nikolai Novosjolov leads the world rankings, though he was ousted in the quarterfinals in 2011 (after barely beating American Seth Kelsey). The new world champ is Italian Paolo Rizzo (coincidentally, he faced the other London-bound American, Soren Thompson, in the round of 16). The top seven in the rankings: Novosjolov, Switzerland’s Fabian Kauter (shared third at Worlds), Rizzo, Kazakhstan’s Elmir Alimzhanov, Switzerland’s Max Heinzer, the Netherlands’ Bas Verwiljen (second at Worlds), South Korea’s Kyoungdoo Park (shared third at Worlds). Thompson is 14th, Kelsey 20th. France is the only country with two fencers in the top 10. This is a 10-way coin flip. Projection was FRA-HUN-ITA; now Estonia, Italy, Switzerland

(Men’s team épée won’t be contested.)

Men’s foil: Three Italians top the rankings. That makes sense, considering they also had three of the four medalists at Worlds. (For the record: Andrea Cassara first, Valerio Aspromonte second, Giorgio Avola third, but Avola didn’t even make the team for this event.) The other man on the podium was France’s Victor Sintes, who’s ranked 10th. The next two after the Italians in the rankings are China’s Jianfei Ma and U.S. teenager Race Imboden, who reached the quarterfinals at Worlds. The other Americans, Alexander Massialas and Miles Chamley-Watson, Was CHN-GER-USA; now Italy, Italy, USA

Men’s team foil: This will be contested in London. Just a hunch — Italy’s favored. Even if they lost to Germany in the quarterfinals at Worlds. Wasn’t even close — 45-35. At Worlds, they play off for the top 16, and Italy lost again to Russia before rebounding to take seventh. The top three were China, France and Germany. The USA finished 11th. This event will somehow have nine teams. Was … well, nothing, because of the glitch in the original post. Now China, Italy, France

Men’s sabre: Germany’s Nicolas Limbach has been a consistent podium finisher at Worlds, placing second behind Italy’s Aldo Montano in 2011. Limbach leads the rankings, followed by Russia’s Alexey Yakimento, South Korea’s Bongil Gu, Montano and Russia’s Veniamin Reshetnikov. A dominant German fencer, an Italian world champ and two strong Russians … that’s enough to make us go without overthinking this projection. The USA has long had contenders here, though the squad of Tim Morehouse, James Williams and Daryl Homer is low in the rankings. Was GER-KOR-ITA; now Germany, Russia, Italy

Men’s team sabre: Let’s check the 2011 Worlds — Russia, Belarus(??!!), Italy. Going by the individual rankings, this should be a Russia-South Korea duel. The USA finished eighth in 2011 but put up a good fight against Italy in the quarterfinals. Was ITA-RUS-ROU; now Russia, Italy, South Korea

Women’s épée: China’s Li Na and Sun Yujie finished 1-2 at Worlds. Reverse that for the world rankings. The third-place fencers were both Romanian — Ana Maria Branza and Anca Maroiu — and they’re the next two on the list. That’s a complete turnover from the last projection except for Branza, a silver medalist in Beijing. Courtney Hurley is the top-ranked American at 24th, with Maya Lawrence and Susannah Scanlan also making the trip. Was POL-FRA-HUN; now China, Romania, China

Women’s team épée: At last, a team result from Worlds that matches the individual — Romania beat China for the world title. Italy placed third. The USA took 12th but still managed to snare a spot in the eight-team event. Russia and Germany are the other teams to consider. Was nothing; now Romania, China, Italy

Women’s foil: Italy’s Valentina Vezzali has won three Olympic golds and six world titles, including the most recent. She’ll carry the flag for Italy in the opening ceremony, then go for gold No. 4. Of course, we’re all about the rankings, so … oh, she leads that, too. Then it’s South Korea’s Olympic silver medalist Hyun-Hee Nam, two more Italians (Elisa de Francisca, Arianna Errigo) and American Lee Kiefer. Four of those five were on the podium at Worlds — de Francisca second, Nam and Kiefer third. The other Americans are 19th-ranked Nzingha Prescod and Nicole Ross. So the USA has a decent shot here, but we’re sticking with original projection: Italy, Italy, South Korea

Women’s team foil: The USA finished second here in 2008 and has the squad to challenge again, though they lost to South Korea at Worlds and finished seventh overall. Russia beat Italy for the 2011 world title by a single point, with South Korea winning a similarly close one over Poland for third. Tempted again to go with the USA, but we’ll stick with Italy, South Korea, Russia

Women’s sabre: The USA swept this event in 2008 and returns Olympic gold medalist Mariel Zagunis. Sada Jacobson has retired, while Becca Ward went on to be the pride of my alma mater. (Maybe skipping the closing ceremony for freshman orientation paid off, after all, though I was awfully skeptical.) Each country only gets two entries because this isn’t a team event this year. Zagunis is still ranked first, and 10th-ranked Dagmara Wozniak won a tough battle to get the second U.S. spot. Russia’s Sofiya Velikaya upset Zagunis in the world final last year, and countrywoman Julia Gavrilova shared third with Ukraine’s Olha Kharlan. Velikaya and Kharlan follow Zagunis in the rankings. We’ll stick with that. Was USA-UKR-RUS; now USA, Russia, Ukraine

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