posted on Aug, 14 2004 @ 11:32 AM
ATHENS, Greece (AP) - The top U.S. saber fencers got knocked out of the Olympic tournament Saturday in the round of 16.
Keeth Smart, who last year became the first American fencer to be ranked No. 1 in the world, stumbled early against Aldo Montano of Italy and lost
15-7. Montano scored the first five points of the bout, and though Smart pulled within one, he struggled with Montano's attacks and the quick pace of
"I guess I was a little too excited," said Smart, who won his first-round bout against Gael Touya of France. "I was trying to go too fast."
Ivan Lee, who like Smart is from New York and first learned fencing at the Peter Westbrook Foundation, defeated Gianpiero Pastore of Italy 15-9 in the
first round, but then had to face four-time gold medalist Stanislav Pozdniakov. The Russian dominated the bout, taking 12 of the first 16 points. He
Jason Rogers of Los Angeles lost 15-3 in the first round to Luigi Tarantino of Italy.
Montano won his next bout after beating Smart, and advanced to the evening's semifinals, along with 2003 world champion Vladimir Lukashenko of
Ukraine, Dmitri Lapkes of Belarus and Zsolt Nemcsik of Hungary.
Westbrook, who competed in five Olympics for the United States, started a program in New York in 1991 to teach fencing to inner-city youth. Four of
the 14 American fencers competing in Athens are products of his foundation. Westbrook is also the last U.S. fencer to win an Olympic medal - a bronze