Fencing: Soren Thompson Earns First Career Grand Prix Medal in Stockholm Epee fencer Soren Thompson (New York City, N.Y.) has earned top-eight finishes, but Sunday marked the first time the four-time Senior World Team member has stood on the podium at a Grand Prix event.
Photo Courtesy: Nicole Jomantas - Soren Thompson (right) won the men's epee final against Cody Mattern.
Epee fencer Soren Thompson (New York City, N.Y.) has earned top-eight finishes at both the 2004 Olympic Games and 2003 World Championships, but Sunday marked the first time the four-time Senior World Team member has stood on the podium at a Grand Prix event.
Thompson began competition at the Stockholm Grand Prix on Saturday where he needed to win two bouts in the preliminary tables after earning three pool bout wins to qualify for the table of 64 on Sunday.
Thompson earned wins in bouts against Jorg Mathe (AUT), 15-6, and Pedro Arede (POR), 15-10, to qualify as one of three Americans to compete in the table of 64.
Along with the good news of advancing into the main draw, came learning that he would be facing his 2004 Olympic Teammate Seth Kelsey (Colorado Springs, Colo.) – the #5-ranked epee fencer in the world.
On Sunday, Kelsey tied the first-round bout at eight touches each at the end of three three-minute periods. The bout went into overtime where Thompson scored the first touch to advance to the table of 32 after a 9-8 win while Kelsey finished in 34th place.
“Fencing teammates is always tough, especially somebody as good as Seth. We've had many tough matches over the years,” Thompson said. “This time it went right down to the wire before I was able to pull off the last touch.”
A member of the team that won the silver medal at the 2010 Senior World Championships, Benjamin Bratton (New York City, N.Y.) also qualified for the table of 64 after earning a 4-2 record in the pools and defeating Michal Sobieraj (POL), 15-9, in the preliminary table on Saturday.
On Sunday, Bratton won his first bout against Vitaly Osharov (UKR), 15-10, in the table of 64, but lost to Guojie Li (CHN), 15-11, in the table of 32 to finish 30th overall.
As the final American in the draw, Thompson’s next bout was against 2008 Olympian Ruben Limardo (VEN). Although Thompson led 11-6 after the second period, Limardo came back to tie Thompson, 11-11. Thompson moved into a 14-13 lead and scored the final point on a double touch to win the bout, 15-14.
In the quarter-finals, Thompson led his bout against Max Heinzer (SUI) with little challenge from the Swiss fencer as Thompson scored six unanswered touches to close out the final period and win the bout, 15-7.
Thompson’s semifinal bout against Ronan Gustin (FRA) was tied, 14-14, at the end of regulation and Gustin scored the first overtime touch to win the bout, 15-14.
Thompson’s bronze medal finish was his first podium results since 2003 and his first Grand Prix medal win during a decorated international career.
“It's a great feeling to fence well and take home a good result,” Thompson said. “My feeling right now is a bit mixed, though, because I had a lead and lost in my match to