LONDON – Ruben Limardo became Venezuela’s first gold medalist since 1968 and the world number 13 sparked jubilation among the South American nation’s small contingent in the packed ExCeL arena after beating silver medalist Norway’s Bartosz Piasecki 15-10.
“I’ve demonstrated that Venezuelans have got talent. I don’t know what to say, I’m just speechless,” Limardo said.
Seth Kelsey had hoped to be the first male fencer ever to win Olympic gold for the U.S., but the world number 20 lost both his semifinal to Limardo and third-place contest in sudden death to the Republic of Korea’s Jung Jinsun – the bronze medalist.
Venezuela has only ever won 12 medals of any color in total. It is now two gold, two silver and eight bronze.
Limardo, who put out world number five Max Heinzer in the last 16 and then Italy’s reigning world champion Paolo Pizzo in the quarterfinals, raced into a 14-6 lead. He then lost the next four points, but finally made it.
“I came here to get a gold medal and I dedicate it to my country,” he added. “My goal is to reach my dream, to be an Olympic champion, and that’s what I set for myself when I was a child.”