Posted: Saturday July 28, 2012 6:20 PM

Italian women sweep medals in individual foil

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LONDON (AP) - Elisa Di Francisca completed an Italian sweep of the medals at the Olympics' individual foil Saturday, winning the gold 12-11 in overtime against countrywoman Arianna Errigo.

Di Francisca, the 2010 world champion, upset top-ranked Nam Hyun-Hee of South Korea by the same score in the women's semifinals.

"The final was very, very difficult,'' Di Francisca said. "I went from 'I want to win' to 'I don't want to win' to 'I want to win.' I was just afraid of winning. Errigo is a very strong player, and we both know each other so well.''

Di Francisca chose a less aggressive approach for the final than in previous matches.

"Normally, I play more like a tiger, but in the final I calmed down,'' Di Francisca said.

In the other semifinal, Errigo beat three-time defending champion Valentina Vezzali 15-12, denying her Italian teammate a chance to become the first female athlete to win individual gold at four consecutive Olympics.

The 38-year-old Vezzali won a tense battle for bronze, 13-12 against Nam.

Vezzali won gold at every Olympics since 2000. With another gold medal, she would have equaled the record held by three male athletes - sailor Paul Elvstrom of Denmark, and discus thrower Al Oerter and long jumper Carl Lewis, both of the United States.

"It was such a tough battle for the bronze medal, but in the end I managed to get it, although my goal was of course to get my fourth gold in a row,'' Vezzali said, fighting tears. "I wanted to win that fourth gold so badly.''

Vezzali, the flagbearer for the Italian team at Friday's opening ceremony, would not rule out competing at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

 
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