While her classmates shop for twin extra-long sheets and peruse potential pals on Facebook, Rebecca Ward’s college preparation has been a bit, um, unique. She took a vacation. To Beijing. To compete in the Olympics. And yesterday, the incoming freshman fencer won the bronze medal in the women’s individual saber, earning Duke’s first medal of these Games.
Ward, the No. 2 seed, was upset in the semifinals by her fellow American and fifth-seeded teammate Mariel Zagunis, who went on to win the gold, and the pain from the unexpected loss still lingered in her third-place bout, as she fell behind 6-1 in the first-to-15 fight. But Ward finally regained her composure and took five straight points to eventually take the lead at 13-11. After her opponent, Russia’s Sofiya Velikaya, tied it at 13, Ward won two of the last three points to secure the prize.
She still has a chance to win another medal in the team saber competition, which spans Aug. 13 and 14 on the East Coast. And after that, she only has five days until she moves in to her East Campus dorm.
Also in competition today is Team USA, led by Mike Krzyzewski, against China at 4:15 EST.
–by Ben Cohen