Eli pride was on full display during Sada Jacobson’s run toward the bronze in women’s sabre at Athens.
The 21-year-old fencer added an extra touch to her pristine white uniform — socks with “YALE” embroidered on the sides.
On Aug. 17, Jacobson ’06 became not only the first female Yalie, but also the first female American fencer ever to medal at the Olympics. Despite her historic bout against Romania’s Catalina Gheorghitoaia in the bronze medal match, Jacobson’s finish sent her home with a darker tinted medal than expected, as her No. 1 world ranking had many speculating that the two-time NCAA champion saberist would return home wearing gold around her neck.
Gold may have evaded Jacobson, but it did not evade the U.S. fencing team. Nineteen-year old American underdog Mariel Zagunis staged an impressive upset in the gold medal round of the sabre event against Xue Tan, China’s former World Champion. Zagunis, a freshman from Notre Dame, won in aggressive fashion, 15-9. Tan had ended Jacobson’s gold medal hopes earlier in the semifinals, ekeing by the Yalie, 15-12.
Despite taking the bronze with her No. 1 ranking, Jacobson said she is excited for Zagunis and pleased with her own results.
“As far as I’m concerned, I won an Olympic medal, and just to be competing at the Olympics is an honor. So to win a medal and be part of this night with our team is just a fantastic experience. I’m honored,” Jacobson said in the Boston Globe Aug. 18.
Despite repeated attempts to contact Jacobson, who is re-enrolling at Yale this year, she could not be reached for comment. Teammates said she is expected to move back to campus today.
Jacobson’s bronze medal was not only the first for Olympic fencing this year, as it was also the first time the women’s sabre was featured at the Games. In the past, female fencers only competed with the foil or the epee as weapons.
The epee, foil and sabre are all approximately 35 inches in length, but the weights and the rules for scoring with each differ. The foil weighs less than one pound, and points are scored when the blade lands anywhere within the torso of the opponent’s body. The epee is significantly heavier and touching the blade to any part of an opponent’s body scores points. The sabre most resembles the foil in length and weight, but stylistically it is used as a thrusting weapon. Points are scored in the sabre from the bend of the hips to the top of the head. The event also showcases a competitor’s quickness in both the offensive and counter attack aspects of the sport.
Nine Yale men have competed in fencing over the years, winning three bronze medals. Current Yale men’s and women’s fencing coach Harry Harutarian worked as an assistant coach at three Olympic Games.