Venezuelan fencer Ruben Limardo Gascon won his country's second-ever Olympic gold medal with a victory Wednesday in the final of the men's individual epee.
Limardo, who had squeaked past American Seth Kelsey by a score of 6-5 in the semifinals, handily defeated Norway's Bartosz Piasecki 15-10 in the final with a brilliant performance that delighted the large crowd of Venezuelans assembled at the ExCeL London arena.
The Venezuelan took a cautious approach in the first period, scoring hits on the counterattack to grab a 4-3 lead after three minutes.
Limardo then took full command of the bout in the second period, registering 8 touches to 3 to virtually lock up the gold medal, as shouts of "Venezuela" reverberated in the stands.
After sending the crowd into a frenzy by scoring the clinching 15th hit in the third and final period, Limardo took a victory lap inside the arena looking for a Venezuelan flag to wave.
"This medal is for me but I want to share it with everyone in Venezuela because they deserve it. I just hope the people there enjoyed it. I know they did, that they saw me on television and that's the most important thing," Limardo said, adding that he has been unable to respond to hundreds of text messages sent by his friends back home.
"I always had this in mind. Since I was little I'd say 'I'm going to be an Olympic champion.' And yesterday I told my coach (who is also his uncle) that I felt in my heart that today was my day. And I ended up doing it. It's a dream come true," Limardo said.
Venezuela's only other Olympic gold medal came at the 1968 Games in Mexico City, where boxer Francisco Rodriguez won top honors in the men's flyweight division.