Ruben Limardo is being hailed a hero in his home country after winning a fencing gold at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
In beating Norway’s Bartosz Piasecki 15-10 in the men’s individual epee title bout on Wedneday, the 27-year-old Venezuelan fencer broke the country’s 44-year Olympic gold medal drought at the London Games.
Limardo, seeded 12th, was the highest-seeded competitor to reach the medal round after a series of early upsets. When he scored the final point against Piasecki, he ripped off his headpiece, raised both arms into the air and circled the arena.
Back in his home country, Venezuelans rejoiced in their nation’s first fencing medal, and their first medal at the London Games.
Following his surprise victory, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez congratulated Limardo in a brief phone call broadcast on national television, saying he was “very happy” about the fencer’s gold medal performance.
Chavez spoke briefly with Limardo, calling him an “honor to the entire homeland.”
Limardo, in turn, thanked Chavez for his “excellent work” in supporting the country’s sports programs.