Aug. 30, 2004
Queens, NY -
Three former St. John's University fencers won opening round bouts, but lost in the second round during competition at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.
Ivan Lee and Keeth Smart, both of whom won two individual NCAA Championships in the saber while attending the University, posted first-round wins, but lost in the Round of 16 during action on the first day of the Summer Games. Jon Tiomkin, meanwhile, lost in the second round of the foil competition.
Lee, ranked No. 19 in the world entering the Games and seeded No. 16 in the men's saber competition, defeated Gianpiero Pastore of Italy, 15-9, in the first round. He advanced to the Round of 16, where he lost, 15-9, to Stanislav Pozdniakov of Russia, the No. 2 seed and a former world champion who was his idol as he began fencing. Lee finished 12th overall.
"I'm disappointed, but I'm proud at the same time," Lee said. "I knew I was going up against a guy who is one of the best in the world right now, but, like a true New Yorker, I gave it everything I had until the last second."
Smart, meanwhile, entered the games ranked No. 25 in the world and was the No. 21 seed in the field. He posted a 15-9 win over Gael Touya of France in the opening round before losing in the Round of 16 to eventual gold medal winner Aldo Montano of Italy, 15-7. Smart finished in 15th place.
Tiomkin posted a 15-10 victory over Ben Aziza of Tunisia in the first round, but was eliminated in the second round by Italian Andrea Cassara, 15-3. Tiomkin was seeded No. 31 in the bracket.
Both Lee and Smart will compete for the U.S. team in the team saber competition, which begins on Thursday, August 19.