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Morehouse captures silver at Olympics

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With thousands of athletes competing in Beijing, China, as part of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, one Bronxite proved to the world that dreams really do come true. 

On Saturday, August 16, Riverdale fencing hopeful Tim Morehouse did the impossible when the U.S. fencing team took home the silver medal, coming short of a gold during a thrilling, but losing effort against a dominant French squad. 

“I keep pinching myself to make sure that I didn’t just dream the fact that we won an Olympic Silver Medal!,” said Morehouse in a blog he posted. “I have never cried tears of joy until today.”

Although chosen as an alternate for the team during the 2004 Athens Games, this was Morehouse’s first competitive Olympic effort, with the silver medal performance coming shortly after the Bronx athlete finished 22nd overall in the individual round. 

During his first match, Morehouse found himself up against France’s Boris Sanson on Monday, August 11. Although he had an 11-10 lead, Sanson made one final run to win the action 15-12. 

“I was happy with the way I competed, but obviously I hoped for a better result,” Morehouse said. 

Morehouse stated that he had picked up newfound confidence having fenced in front of thousands of fans and was pumped to fence in the team event later on during the week. 

The odds were stacked against him. Although the women’s team had swept the individual competition earlier last week, never in the history of the modern-era Olympics has the U.S. men’s team won a fencing medal. 

In 2004, Morehouse’s teammate Keeth Smart lost back-to-back 45-44 matches, as his squad closed out the year in fourth place.

In 2008, during the quarterfinals, the U.S. found themselves trailing 40-36 to the World Champions from Hungary. But Smart rallied his team to a 44-44 tie and would close out his match against Zsolt Nemcsik on the winning side. 

In the semifinals, again, America found itself trailing 40-25, this time against Russia. Once more, Smart fought back, tying the action at 44 and then scoring the winning touch against Stanislav Pozdnyakov to assure the U.S. a medal. 

“I can’t even begin to describe what it felt like to clinch our medal and especially in the dramatic fashion with which it occurred,” said Morehouse. “We had come so close in Athens to winning a medal and we actually faced the exact same teams with the exact same situation, 44-44,” he continued. “Except this time, we won!”

In the gold medal round, the U.S. lost to France 45-37, but by this point, it didn’t matter anymore. America had made history and there was nothing that could take the moment away. 

Said Morehouse: “Seeing the American flag raised at the Olympic Games by our team is truly one of the thrills of my life.”

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