Zagunis: 'Yesterday was Jiyeon Kim's day'

Zagunis: 'Yesterday was Jiyeon Kim's day'

Zagunis: 'Yesterday was Jiyeon Kim's day'

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by Michael Rollins

Bio | Email | Follow: @KGWNews

kgw.com

Posted on August 1, 2012 at 6:01 AM

Updated Sunday, Sep 30 at 11:04 AM

LONDON -- Beaverton native Mariel Zagunis will not take home a medal from the 2012 Olympics.

Zagunis lost a bronze medal match 15-10 to Olga Kharlan of the Ukraine, easily winning early rounds before a semifinal loss to Kim Jiyeon of South Korea.

Jiyeon eventually won the gold over Sophia Velikaia of Russia.

Zagunis the two-time gold medalist had won early matches over Indonesian, Chinese and Japanese fencers.

She lost to Jiyeon of Korea 15-13 after leading 12-5. The loss sent Zagunis to a bronze medal match with Kharlan.

Photos: Zagunis' matches at the London Olympics

Zagunis beat Diah Permatasari 15-7, then Seira Nakayama of Japan 15-9. Nakayama had defeated Leonore Perrus of France in her opening round. In the round of eight, Zagunis defeated Min Zhu of China 15-6.

Mom Cathy Zagunis watched all three preliminary bouts. The opponent from Indonesia was a bit of an unknown, she told KGW Wednesday morning before the semifinals.

Mariel fenced "perfectly" against Nakayama of Japan, Cathy Zagunis said. Zhu of China should have been a formidable opponent.

The Chinese fencer is tall, 5 foot 11, which means simply she can outreach opponents. Mariel had lost to her in the past but easily defeated her last May, Cathy Zagunis said.

Cathy Zagunis was wary of a potential match with southpaw Jiyeon and before the match said it would create a  challenge for her daughter, also left-handed, with the tip of the sabre coming from a different direction.

More: Meet Mariel Zagunis

Photos: Mariel's international competitive career

Dad Robert Zagunis told KGW that he hoped Mariel would not "beat herself up" before the bronze medal match.

He knew little of the Korean opponent who defeated his daughter. "I don't know who she is. She beat some good people to get there."

After the bronze medal loss, a stunned Mariel and her family were trying to sort out emotions, Robert Zagunis said, and would be doing so for several days. His daughter was trying to analyze how she could have lost her focus in the final matches.

"Staying on top, competing at the top, is really really difficult," he said.

Neither parent had spoken with Mariel in London prior to the matches.

"I stay out of her way and let her work with her coaches," Cathy said after the preliminary rounds."There is no social time. That is for after."

Mariel Zagunis sent out a tweet Thursday.

"Yesterday was Jiyeon Kim's day- I know how she's feeling and I am happy for her! I on the other hand, am dealing with some unfamiliar mixed emotions. The best and only thing I can do now is have a couple good cries, come to terms with what happened, then pick myself back up and move on to the next one... Big thank you to all my family and friends who came to London to cheer me on and to everyone back home for the unconditional support! It's been an incredible ride and I am always proud to represent #TeamUSA"

More: Mariel Zagunis: Model Olympian

More: Mariel Zagunis carries US flag in Opening Ceremony

Zagunis was selected by Olympic team captains to represent America and carry the flag in the Opening Ceremony. She said it was an honor and a special way to start out the London games.

More: Mariel Zagunis shows Al Roker how to fence

Complete coverage: London 2012 Olympics

Also: Follow @KGWOlympics on Twitter for the latest news on Olympians from Oregon and the Pacific Northwest

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