Rebecca Ward

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Rebecca Ward
Personal information
BornFebruary 7, 1990 (1990-02-07) (age 29)
Grand Junction, Colorado, USA

Rebecca "Becca" Ward (born February 7, 1990) is an American sabre fencer. She won the gold medal at the sabre 2006 World Fencing Championships after beating Mariel Zagunis 15–11 in the final, and took bronze in both individual and team sabre events at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.[1][2] She also won the women's NCAA national individual sabre championship three times (2009, 2011, 2012), the first in history to do so in sabre.[3] In 2015, she was inducted into the USA Fencing Hall of Fame.[4]


Ward was born in Grand Junction, Colorado, to Bill and Beth Ward. She has a brother by the name of Wiliam Ward. Ward was home schooled.[5] She is Assistant for Energy and Environmental policy on the staff of United States Senator Jeff Merkley[6] and Saber Program Director for the Arlington Fencers' Club in Arlington, Virginia.[7] She has lived in Cedar Mill, a suburb of Portland, Oregon.[8]


A member of the Oregon Fencing Alliance (OFA), she trained with Ed Korfanty and Jacek Huchwajda and has won a record number of world titles for a female sabre fencer in 2006; Cadet (U17), Junior (U20), Junior Team and Senior. As of June 2007, Ward was ranked first in the world in both Official and World Cup rankings for senior women sabre fencers. She was also a member of the US Senior World Team that won the Gold Medal at the 2005 World Fencing Championships in Leipzig, Germany.

As of July 2007, Ward was the number-one-ranked senior women's sabre fencer in the United States and on the FIE Rankings. Ward won the Grand Prix in Las Vegas and gave up only 30 points of a possible 90 (an average of only five points in each 15-point bout).

College career[edit]

Ward fenced for Duke University under Maître Alex Beguinet while working towards majors in Public Policy and Psychology as well as a Certificate in Energy and the Environment.[9] On Sunday March 22, 2009, she won the women's NCAA national individual sabre title.[1][2] She failed to defend her title in 2010, losing the final match to Caroline Vloka of Harvard. On Sunday, March 27, 2011, Ward defeated Vloka in the women's sabre NCAA semifinal, and went on to reclaim her title by defeating Princeton's Eliza Stone 15–12 in the gold-medal match. In 2012, she captured her third NCAA championship by defeating Penn State's Monica Aksamit, becoming the first three-time individual sabre winner in NCAA history.[3]

Ward graduated Duke with a 272–7 (.975) record, making her the school's all-time wins leader.[10]

2008 Beijing Olympics[edit]

Ward was one of the top seeds for the individual sabre competition. She won her first bout, against Spain's Araceli Navarro, when her opponent was forced to withdraw due to a shoulder injury (Ward was winning 12–7 at the time). She then defeated Orsolya Nagy of Hungary in the round of 16, 15–5. In the quarterfinals, she beat Tunisia's Azza Besbes, 15–14, in a match decided by one final touch.

In the semifinals, Ward faced defending Olympic champion Mariel Zagunis, with whom she trained regularly at the Oregon Fencing Alliance. She lost the bout 15–11 to Zagunis, who would go on to win the gold medal. Shortly after, Ward fenced in the bronze medal bout, where she defeated Russia's Sofia Velikaya 15–14. This assured that American fencers would sweep all three medals prior to the actual final bout, in which Sada Jacobson faced Mariel Zagunis for the gold.

In the women's sabre team event, the US was heavily favored to win the team event.[11][12] Ward teamed up with Jacobson and Zagunis to defeat the South African team in the quarterfinals, 45–8.[13]

In the semifinals, they fenced Ukraine. The Ukrainians, seeded fifth in the tournament, defeated the favored US team 45–39, denying them a gold medal, and placing them in the bronze medal bout against France.[14]

The USA team rebounded from their semifinal loss by defeating the French team 45–38, with Ward making the final touch of the bout, and Ward earned her second bronze medal of the Olympics.[15]


  1. ^ a b "Rebecca Ward". Duke Fencing. Archived from the original on 2011-07-26. Retrieved 2009-07-24.
  2. ^ a b "BDW: Blue Devils of the Year for 2009 – Duke University Blue Devils | Official Athletics Site". Retrieved 2009-07-24.
  3. ^ a b COLLEGE FENCING: Rebecca Ward captures third NCAA title.
  4. ^ USA Fencing Announces 2015 Hall of Fame Induction Class USA Fencing. 18 June 2014.
  5. ^ "Becca Ward Bio – Duke University Blue Devils | Official Athletics Site". Retrieved 2014-08-26.
  6. ^ "Becca Ward". LinkedIn. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  7. ^ "Coaches". Arlington Fencers' Club. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  8. ^ Fencer Ward happy being No. 2 on the way to Beijing Portland Tribune. 2 August 2008.
  9. ^ Duke University Sustainability
  10. ^ "Ward Named ACC's Top Female Athlete – Duke University Blue Devils | Official Athletics Site". 2012-07-31. Retrieved 2014-08-26.
  11. ^ [1] Archived August 14, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Topic Galleries". Archived from the original on 2008-09-12. Retrieved 2009-07-24.
  13. ^ "2008 Beijing Summer Olympics – Fencing | Athlete Profiles, Videos & Photos". NBC Olympics. 2008-08-14. Retrieved 2009-07-24.
  14. ^ "2008 Beijing Summer Olympics – Fencing | Athlete Profiles, Videos & Photos". NBC Olympics. 2008-08-14. Retrieved 2009-07-24.
  15. ^ "2008 Beijing Summer Olympics – Fencing | Athlete Profiles, Videos & Photos". NBC Olympics. 2008-08-14. Retrieved 2009-07-24.

External links[edit]