The Italian fencing power trio—Elisa di Francisca, Arianna Errigo, and Valentina Vezzali—beat the reigning champion Russian women's team 45-31 Thursday at the ExCel Arena.
Vezzali captured an early lead, beating Inna Deriglazova 5-2 in the first bout. Errigo increased the lead to 10-5 against Larisa Korobeynikova, while Di Francisca widened the gap to 15-6 against Aida Shanaeva, establishing a momentum that was impossible for the Russians to beat.
Though they tired toward the end of the match, the Italians consistently earned five touches in each of the nine bouts. Only the seventh bout, in which Illaria Salvatori subbed for Errigo and lost 9-5, and the final bout, when Vezzali lost 5-7, went to the Russians.
For Vezzali and Salvatori, who competed in the team event at Beijing, yeterday's gold was sweet revenge against the team that beat the Italians by a single point in the semi-finals in 2008 and went on to win the event.
In Saturday's individual foil finals, the Italian woman swept all three medals, with the gold to Di Francisca, silver to Errigo, and bronze to Vezzali, who was denied the honour of becoming the first female in the history of the Olympics to win four consecutive gold medals in the same event.