St. John’s University was well-represented at the 2012 Olympic Games in London this summer, with two undergraduate fencers and a former track-and-field star taking part in the historic international athletic competition.
First-time Olympian Daryl Homer ’13CPS and the U.S. team placed eighth in the men’s saber event on August 3 — the final Olympic fencing event including St. John’s athletes. Led by Red Storm coach Yury Gelman, the U.S. squad earned their eighth-place finish after falling to No. 2 Belarus, 45-35, in the second round of the consolation bracket.
Top-seeded Russia had sent the U.S. team into the consolation bracket after the quarterfinals, which marked the event's first round. The U.S. squad was defeated by No. 1 Russia, 45-33, despite succeeding against them in Sunday’s individual event. The U.S. fencers — including Homer — had beated two of the three Russian competitors.
Dagmara Wozniak ’13C finished eighth in the women’s saber. The tenth-seeded Avenal, NJ, native beat the No. 7 seed to reach the quarterfinals, in which she was defeated by Sophia Velikaia of Russia, the world’s No. 2-ranked fencer. Wozniak served as a replacement athlete for the U.S. women’s saber squad in the 2008 Games in Beijing.
This marked the fourth time that Red Storm coach Gelman has guided the U.S. Olympic fencing team. In 2008, he led the Summer Olympics men’s saber to its best-ever finish and its first medal since 1984.
Phobay Kutu-Akoi ’09C ran an 11.52-second 100-meter dash in her heat at the Games on August 3, less than .4 seconds behind the last semifinal qualifier in her group. The split was identical to her performance at the 2009 Metropolitan Championships, which earned her the St. John's and Liberian national record in the 100-meter dash. Kutu-Akoi was flag-bearer for her home nation of Liberia at this year's Opening Ceremonies.
The trio joined a roster of St. John’s athletes who have earned high profiles this past year. They include Keegan Bradley '08CPS, 2011 PGA Tour “Rookie of the Year” and the PGA Championship winner; former Red Storm forward/guard Moe Harkless, the 2011-12 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year and the No. 15 pick in the NBA Draft; and pitcher John Franco, inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame in June.