Daryl Homer wins silver in fencing, U.S. search for gold continues

Fourth-Place Medal

RIO DE JANEIRO — Daryl Homer of the Bronx captured silver in individual men’s sabre Wednesday in Rio, as Team USA’s century-long search for another gold medal continues on.

Homer was seeking to become only the second U.S. men’s fencer to win individual Olympic gold, and the first since Albert Van Zo Post’s win in single sticks in 1904. But after a thrilling semifinal match earned him a spot in the final – a 15-14 win over Mojtaba Abedini of Iran – Homer lost to 2012 gold medalist Aron Szilagyi of Hungary, 15-8.

Along with Alex Massialas’ silver in foil, the Rio Games mark the first time the U.S. has scored multiple medals in individual men’s fencing since those 1904 St. Louis Olympic Games.

[Related: USA Boxing’s Olympic medal drought is over]

Szilagyi won gold in the event at London 2012. Homer, 26, lost in the quarterfinals in London, and was most recently a silver medalist at the 2015 Senior World Championships, becoming the first U.S. men’s fencer to ever medal in sabre at that event. He was ranked No. 10 in the world entering the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Homer has earned renown for breaking the template of an American fencer, from a cult of celebrity that’s includied modeling spots in VOGUE and Us Weekly to his unique backstory.

He was born in the U.S. Virgin Islands before moving to the Bronx with his mother at 5 years old. He first discovered fencing when he saw an image of it in a children’s dictionary, but it wasn’t until he saw it featured on a television commercial that he became intrigued by it.

“A commercial for AT&T that featured two black fencers came on. I pointed it out to my mom, and I think just the visual of seeing these black males fencing was enough to make her think this was something that was attainable,” he told The Players’ Tribune last September.

He attended the New York Fencer’s Club and quickly showed a talent for it despite being smaller (5-foot-8) than many of the world’s elite fencers.

“I might not be as big as my competitors; I might not have as much experience as them. To most people, I probably don’t look like a fencer. But on the strip, none of that matters. It’s two people facing off for survival. That’s fencing,” he said.

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Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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