"She was coming very fast at me. I got the point, but she was still following through," she said. "I didn't feel dizzy or sick."
In fact, she rallied after the incident to win the emotional match (as you can see in the photo above), leading to a quarterfinal bout against No. 2-ranked Sofya Velikaya, whom she had never beaten in three previous matches.
That quarterfinal led to a different kind of pain.
"She had a good plan. She stuck to it," said Wozniak through tears, the New Jersey native who was eliminated in the women's individual sabre quarterfinals, 15-13.
"I was questioning a couple of calls, but I made a lot of mistakes. In the end, it's on me, not the ref's fault or anything."
Keeping her composure during the match was a challenge. "No matter how behind I was, even in this bout, I knew I had to not freak out [or] argue with a ref; he sees it a certain way, so I have to adapt to what he sees," she said.
Not that she didn't want to freak out.
"Everybody wants to freak out. But that's what shows a mature and well-rounded athlete. I'm an ambassador for my country. I'm not going to give my country a bad reputation by freaking out. You're not going to win by throwing your mask."
Her teammate, Mariel Zagunis, continued her pursuit of a third straight gold medal with a 15-7 win against Diah Permatasari of Indonesia.
"A three-peat is definitely coming," said Wozniak. "If I don't take the gold, I sure as hell want her to do it."
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