2012 Olympics | July 27 - August 12
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Sofya Velikaya

Sofya VelikayaSport: Fencing

Nation: Russian Federation

DOB: June 8, 1985

Career Highlights: Velikaya established herself as a gold-medal favorite for London by winning the individual sabre title at the 2011 world championships - beating two-time defending Olympic champion Mariel Zagunis of the United States in the final. She has won three other golds at worlds, all in team competition, and has also won an individual silver (2005) and an individual bronze (2010) in the event. Velikaya will be making her second Olympic appearance and will be looking for redemption after the Beijing Games, where she lost to American Becca Ward in the bronze-medal match by one point. She is ranked No. 1 in the world after being ranked second during the 2010-11 season and third in the two seasons prior to that. In May, Velikaya knocked off another favorite to win gold in London by defeating Olga Kharlan in the final of the Bologna Sabre World Cup. A ballroom dancer as a youngster who didn't begin fencing until she was 13, Velikaya's last name means "great" in Russian.

Olympic History: 2008

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