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ATLANTA 1996 OLYMPICS

Frenchwomen Form 1-2 Punch in Epee

July 22, 1996

France won the gold and silver medals in the first Olympic women's individual epee, a day after the favored French men failed to make the medal round in the same event.

Laura Flessel beat teammate Valerie Barlois-Mevel, 15-12, in the gold-medal match. Flessel never trailed, even when Barlois scored six straight touches, including a double touch, after falling behind, 11-4.

The Russian men won their second individual fencing gold medal in two days when Stanislav Pozdnyakov defeated teammate Sergei Sharikov, 15-12, in men's sabre.

Peter Westbrook, 44, 13-time U.S. sabre champion from New York, wound up a remarkable Olympic career. He is only the seventh American to compete in six Games and has the only Olympic fencing medal won by a U.S. athlete in the past 36 years--a bronze at Los Angeles in 1984.

"I'm only sad for about 15 minutes," Westbrook said after an opening-round, 15-8 loss to Lurane Williams of Great Britain in men's individual sabre competition.

"When you look at the whole scheme of things and what I've accomplished, it's almost asinine to be sad at this point. To be 44 years old and at my sixth Olympic Games, I'm not complaining."

Elaine Cheris, 50, of Denver, America's oldest Olympic athlete, lost in the first round.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Medalists / Fencing MEN'S INDIVIDUAL SABRE

Gold: Stanislav Pozdnyakov, Russia

Silver: Sergey Sharikov, Russia

Bronze: Damien Tuoya, France

WOMEN'S INDIVIDUAL EPEE

Gold: Laura Flessel, France

Silver: Valerie Barlois, France

Bronze: Szalay Horvathne, Hungary

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