Vezzali survives in battle of Italian greats

ATHENS, Greece -- Valentina Vezzali beat longtime teammate
Giovanna Trillini 15-11 to win the gold medal in foil Wednesday
night in a matchup of two Italian greats.

Vezzali won her fourth Olympic fencing gold, equaling the most
won by a woman. The silver was Trillini's seventh Olympic medal,
tying her for tops among women's fencers. Trillini also has four

Sylwia Gruchala of Poland beat Aida Mohamed of Hungary 15-9 to
win the bronze.

Vezzali and Trillini have been teammates for a decade on an
Italian foil team that won Olympic golds in 1996 and 2000 and world
championships in 1995, 1997, 1998, 2001 and 2004.

"We are close friends with Trillini," Vezzali said. "We are
from the same town but only one should win."

Vezzali won her second straight Olympic gold in the individual
foil. Trillini won golds in both the team and individual
competitions in 1992 in Barcelona.

Vezzali and Trillini took the medal stand to chants of
"Italia" after a final that was close until late. As if able to
anticipate each other's every move, Vezzali and Trillini danced for
more than two minutes in the first round before the first point was

Tied 6-6 going into the third round, Vezzali scored the first
touch and never looked back. After the winning point, she dropped
to her knees in celebration.

American Erinn Smart of New York lost in the round of 32.