Morehouse, US team wind up 8th in Olympic fencing
Alum's individual effort exceeded expectations, but team did not
Brandeis Olympic fencer Tim Morehouse ’00 earned a pair of eighth-place finishes in the sabre events at the Summer Games in London -- a better-than-expected result in the individual tournament but a disappointing outcome in the team competition for an American squad that won a silver medal four years ago in Beijing.
Competing on his 34th birthday on July 29, Morehouse reached the individual quarterfinals with a pair of upsets and finished in eighth place after entering the tournament as the 27th seed.
[Read an interview with Morehouse on the eve of the competition.]
After earning a first-round bye, Morehouse opened against sixth-seeded Veniamin Reshetnikov of Russia. Morehouse got off to a quick start and maintained his early lead, opening up an 8-5 advantage after the first period. In the second period, the 2009 Brandeis Athletic Hall of Fame inductee was nearly unstoppable, scoring seven of the eight touches to take a 15-6 victory and advance to the Round of 16.
"In ‘08 (when he lost in the opening round of the individual competition), in my first match I got a big lead and then I got ahead of myself, so here I got a big lead and I thought that I want to try and win this,” Morehouse, who helped the U.S. team win a team silver medal at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, told usfencing.org. “I just wanted to go out and fight and remember that there's no embarrassment no matter what happens and if the victory was there, I'll take it."
In the Round of 16, Morehouse faced Dmitri Lapkes of Belarus, the tournament's 11th seed. For the second consecutive match, Morehouse was ahead, 8-5, after the first period. He held a 12-9 advantage before Lapkes earned four of the next five touches to knot the score, 13-13. The 2010 Brandeis Alumni Achievement Award winner rebounded to claim the last two touches and advance.
In the quarterfinals, Morehouse met Italy's Diego Occhiuzi, the No. 14 seed. After getting the first two touches of the match, Morehouse fell behind by a score of 8-5. He rallied to move within 12-8, but Occhuizi went on to a 15-9 victory. Occhuizi ended up earning the silver medal after falling to Hungarian Aron Szilagyi in the gold-medal match.
"My goal was to try and win the tournament and give it everything I had and I did that out there,” Morehouse told usfencing.org. “I had two great matches today, which I'm really happy about. Overall, it's a solid day for me. Not quite what I wanted, but I'll take away any lessons I can from this experience."
Fellow American Daryl Homer also reached the quarterfinals with a pair of upsets, including a victory over second seed Aleksei Yakimenko of Russia in the opening round. The U.S. men placed two sabre fencers among the final eight for the first time since 1948.
Seeded eighth in the team tournament, the U.S. faced top-seeded Russia in the opening round on August 3. Though the Americans had won two of their three bouts against the Russians in the individual tournament, the Russians prevailed in the team competition, 45-33.
Morehouse faced Reshetnikov in the third round with the U.S. trailing, 10-5. Despite having won the showdown between them in individual action, Morehouse suffered a 5-2 loss. After Morehouse fell in the sixth round to the second-seeded individual, Aleksei Yakimenko, by a 5-3 score, the U.S. was down, 30-17, with three bouts to go. Though the American edged their opponents, 16-15, including 5-5 between Morehouse and Nikolay Kovalev down the stretch, it was not enough. The Russians went on to finish in fourth place, getting upset by Romania, 45-43, in the semifinals and falling to Italy in the bronze-medal match, 45-39.
In the consolation bracket, the U.S. met China, which fell to finalist Romania in the opening round. The Chinese defeated the Americans by a 45-28 score. Morehouse lost all three bouts, 5-3, 5-4 and 5-1.
In the seventh-place match between the U.S. and Belarus, the U.S. stayed close, and on two occasions Morehouse had them within one point of the European squad. He tied his first bout with Aliaksei Likhacheuski, 5-5, and edged Aliaksandr Buikevich, 6-5, to get the Americans with 35-30 at the end of Round Six. Unfortunately, Belarus was victorious in each of the three final bouts, with Lapkes avenging a 15-13 loss in the individual tournament with a 5-3 win over Morehouse, helping Belarus to a 45-35 victory.