Perfectly timed fleche attacks carried Ruben LIMARDO GASCON (VEN) to a 15-10 epee victory over Bartosz PIASECKI (NOR) at ExCeL on Wednesday as he became Venezuela's first Olympic fencing gold medallist.
When 14-6 ahead, LIMARDO GASCON became slightly dazzled at the prospect of winning and allowed his much taller (1.95m to 1.75m) opponent to score four hits before executing another superb beat attack to end the contest.
Polish-born PIASECKI came out of nowhere to win silver and become the first fencer from Norway to win an Olympic medal. Ranked a lowly 47th in the world and with no significant win to his name, he defeated some of the best epeeists in the world, including Geza IMRE (HUN) and Frenchmen Gauthier GRUMIER (FRA) and Yannick BOREL (FRA).
JUNG Jinsun (KOR) and Seth KELSEY (USA) fought off for bronze, the bout reaching 11-11, having a minute of extra time and two double hits before JUNG's dart to toe succeeded in bringing up a single light and victory for the Korean.
LIMARDO GASCON had earlier snatched victory in extra time against KELSEY in the semifinals. The slow-scoring match had reached only 2-2 at the end of the first period and halfway through the second the referee brought it to a premature end for non-combativity.
By the end of normal time, the score was still only 5-5. In the sudden-death playoff, priority went to LIMARDO GASCON. The taller KELSEY prepared to take the initiative, but suddenly the Venezuelan launched a lightning fleche attack and scored, running around the piste in joy having guaranteed himself a medal.
JUNG and PIASECKI level-pegged to 10-10 before the Norwegian produced three long lunges to the body to lead 14-11. But JUNG was not finished and riposted twice to make it 14-13 before a final lunge from PIASECKI took him into the gold medal match.
LIMARDO GASCON had defeated world champion Paolo PIZZO (ITA) 15-12 to reach the semifinals, while PIASECKI came from behind to edge out BOREL 15-14 in their quarterfinal.
None of the top 10 seeds survived to reach the quarterfinals. KELSEY pulled off the shock of the competition when he defeated world No.1 Nikolai NOVOSJOLOV (EST) 15-11 in the second round.
Both Swiss seeds were blown away, world No.2 Fabian KAUTER (SUI) by BOREL and world No.5 Max HEINZER (SUI) by LIMARDO GASCON, while JUNG accounted for world No.4 Elmir ALIMZHANOV (KAZ).