London, England – The United States had placed a fencer in the semifinals of both the men's and women's competitions Wednesday at the London Games, but failed to come away with a medal.
U.S. flagbearer Mariel Zagunis and countryman Seth Kelsey lost in the semis and then dropped their bronze medal matches in the women's sabre and men's epee, respectively.
South Korea's Kim Jiyeon won gold in the women's event, while Ruben Limardo Gascon of Venezuela won the men's epee.
In the semifinals, Zagunis, the top seed in the women's draw, lost to Kim by a 15-13 score after leading the contest 12-6 at one point. The South Korean went on to beat Sophia Velikaya of Russia, 15-9, in the gold medal match.
"She (Kim) did not beat me. I defeated myself," said Zagunis. "I was dominating the fight and everything was going right."
Olga Kharlan of the Ukraine then toppled Zagunis by a 15-10 score for the bronze.
"I approached the match as if it was a final," said Zagunis of her loss to Kharlan. "I lost my focus and mentally I was not there."
Zagunis, who led the Americans into Olympic Stadium last week at the opening ceremony, had won gold in her event at the last two Summer Games, beginning with the discipline's introduction eight years ago in Athens.
"It was a great honor," Zagunis said of being the U.S. flagbearer. "It was five days ago and I put that out of mind and it's great for fencing that it gave it attention."
While the top-seeded Zagunis was expected to go far in her event, Kelsey had made a shocking run to the semifinals of the men's epee. The tournament's 17th seed, Kelsey lost a 6-5 overtime decision to Limardo Gascon in the semis and then dropped another close bout for bronze, losing 12-11 in extra time to Jung Jinsun of South Korea.
Limardo Gascon beat Norway's Bartosz Piasecki in the men's gold medal match.
The medal was the first of any kind for Venezuela in Olympic fencing.