Olympics: Two decades and 20 seconds divide fencing gold, silver

Park Sang Young of South Korea celebrates winning the gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics on August 9.
Park Sang Young of South Korea celebrates winning the gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics on August 9.PHOTO: REUTERS

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - South Korean fencer Park Sang Young came from behind in the final seconds to snatch gold from a man twice his age, upsetting 41-year-old Hungarian Geza Imre to become the youngest Olympic epee champion in over a century.

The silver finish for Imre, who took bronze in 1996 before Park was a year old, made the Hungarian the oldest Olympic fencer to take an individual medal since 1952.

He came within a touch of winning it all, at 14-10, before the Korean, 20, scored five straight times to win his country's first Olympic gold in epee.

"I was the winner up until eight-and-a-half minutes into the bout and in the last 20 seconds he beat me," said third-ranked Imre. "The last four touches he changed his tactics and I couldn't do anything."

Park's top finishes to date had been two grand prix wins in 2014, and he was ranked 21st heading into the fencing competition at the Rio Games.

Top-ranked Gauthier Grumier lost to Imre in the semi-final, but beat Switzerland's Benjamin Steffen for bronze, securing a French medal after the country's fencers left the London Games empty-handed for the first time since 1960.

"It was a success," said Grumier, who took a lap around the arena after winning the bronze. "I am not the guy who lost two times today. I lost but I had the chance to win the medal, so I finished with a victory, which is really important for me."

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