Dagmara Wozniak keeps it together in frustrating fencing loss

LONDON — Dagmara Wozniak's Round of 16 victory over Azza Besbes of Tunisia was literally painful — the American took Besbes' bell guard to her face, delaying the match as she recovered.

"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."

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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."

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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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