LONDON — Two-time Olympic fencing champion Mariel Zagunis will carry
the U.S. flag in the opening ceremony of the London Games.
The former Notre Dame fencing All-American and national champion won a
vote of the 529-strong team ahead of Friday’s ceremony.
“I’m extremely humbled by this incredible privilege,” Zagunis said.
“As an athlete, I can’t imagine a higher honor than to lead Team USA
into the Olympic Games, which are the pinnacle of sport and a platform
for world peace. I am tremendously proud to represent my sport, our
team and, most importantly, the United States of America.”
Zagunis will be the third fencer and sixth woman to serve as the U.S.
While competing at Notre Dame from 2004-06, Zagunis helped the Irish
win the 2005 NCAA national championship while finishing as the
individual runner-up in the sabre. A year later, she earned the NCAA
national title in the sabre.
The Portland, Ore., product became the first American fencer in 100
years to earn an Olympic gold medal at the 2004 Games in Athens. She
shocked the fencing world that year by rising to the top of the sabre
competition after being promoted from alternate status when a Nigerian
fencer dropped out.
Zagunis successfully defended her Olympic title in 2008 in Beijing.
She will go for the three-peat on Aug. 1.