Ibtihaj Muhammad, of Maplewood, and her three teammates defeated Italy to win the Bronze in Women’s Team Sabre at the 2016 Olympics in Rio Saturday afternoon.
Muhammad, along with team anchor Mariel Zagunis of Beaverton, OR; Dagmara Wozniak of Avenel, NJ and replacement athlete Monica Aksamit of Matawan, NJ will take home the medal — the first for the U.S. women’s team saber at the Games since a bronze in 2008, according to USA Fencing.
In the previous match to qualify for the finals, Muhammad handily bested a Russian fencer 10-4, closing the gap between USA and Russia.
“A fantastic performance all day long…” by Muhammad, according to the announcers.
Muhammad, Wozniak and Aksamit wept openly as they watched Zagunis clinch the bronze in the final bout.
In the gold medal round, Russia defeated the Ukraine.
On Monday, Muhammad — who grew up in Maplewood and was a member of the Columbia High School fencing team — made history by becoming the first U.S. Olympian to compete in the games while wearing a hijab.
An enthusiastic crowd at the New Jersey Fencing Alliance Saturday watched raptly as Team USA won the final bout that clinched their medal.
Enjoy our photo gallery, credit Claire Sinclair; click on any photo to begin.