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Mariel Zagunis is a fencer competing at the 2012 London Summer Olympics for the USA.

On Wednesday, July 25, it was announced that Mariel Zagunis will carry the U.S. flag at the 2012 Opening Ceremony.

With individual world championship golds in 2009 & 2010 and a silver in 2011, American sabre fencer Mariel Zagunis heads to London as one of the most decorated athletes in the sport, and a heavy favorite to once again make history on the grandest stage.

Zagunis is the quintessential Olympic tale of opportunity and execution. As an alternate that secured a spot for the 2004 Athens Games only after Nigeria decided not to send a fencer, the then 19-year-old pulled off the unexpected, defeating former world champion Tan Xue of China, 15-9 in the sabre finals. Upon winning the last point, Zagunis was mobbed by teammates who rushed the stage to celebrate, tossing the champion up and down as she held an American flag, creating one of the more memorable images of the Athens Games.

She enrolled at Notre Dame in 2005 and joined the fencing team, though her athletic interests span far beyond the piste. The newly christened golden-domer was raised an Oregon State Beavers (her dad's alma mater) fan, but became an instant supporter of blue and gold football after watching the Irish knock of rival Michigan her freshman year. She's also been playing soccer since the age of five, earning three letters as a midfielder at Valley Catholic High School.

Zagunis entered Beijing as the sixth seed, receiving a bye and joining the field when 32 fencers remained. 30 fencers later, Zagunis and fellow American Sada Jacobson battled for Olympic gold. Winning handedly 15-8, Zagunis secured her second gold medal. With Oregon native Rebecca Ward taking bronze, the U.S. capped off an unprecedented sweep of the podium. All three fencers also combined to take bronze in the team sabre.

Zagunis was featured in Faces in the Crowd in the May 07, 2001 issue of Sports Illustrated. Her bio then: Mariel, 16, won three golds at the junior and cadet world meet, winning the under-17 and under-20 women's sabre titles and leading the U.S. to the women's team sabre crown. A member of the 2000 world champion U.S. senior women's team, she's the only American to win four world titles.
Also profiled in the same piece was college wrestler Josh Koscheck, who is now a successful mixed martial artist.

Zagunis bleeds blue, black, red, yellow and green. Both her father Robert (11th place, Fours with coxswain) and mother Cathy (nee Menges, 6th place, Fours with coxswain), were members of the U.S. rowing team at the 1976 Summer Games in Montreal. Mariel chose a different path, as did brothers Marten and Merrick. Mariel began fencing at the age of 10 with the foil because Marten was a nationally-ranked foil fencer.


How tall is Mariel Zagunis? How old is Mariel Zagunis? Where does Mariel Zagunis live? Find out here.

Age: 31 years old
Birthday: March 3, 1985
Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 134 lbs.
Birthplace: Beaverton, OR
Current Residence: Beaverton, OR

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