Sada Jacobson

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Sada Jacobson
Born (1983-02-14) February 14, 1983 (age 32)
Rochester, Minnesota, United States
Weapon(s) sabre
Hand left-handed
Height 1.7 m (5 ft 7 in)
Retired 2008
FIE Ranking rankings (archive)

Sada Molly Jacobson[1] (born February 14, 1983 in Rochester, Minnesota) is an American fencer. Her hometown is Dunwoody, GA. She is the 2008 Olympic Individual Sabre silver medalist and 2004 Olympic Individual Sabre bronze medalist. She has been training at Nellya fencers from a young age.


Jacobson is a daughter of David Jacobson, a member of the 1974 U.S. National fencing team in saber and now an endocrinologist, and Tina Jacobson, who has also fenced competitively.[2][3]

She is the sister of fellow U.S. Olympic team fencer Emily Jacobson and world-class fencer Jackie Jacobson.[4]

Jacobson swam competitively for 2 years in high school.[5] She postponed her college career to train full-time for the 2004 Summer Olympics.

She graduated the Westminster Schools in 2000. She graduated with a history degree from Morse College, Yale University. She studied history at Yale University.[6] She began law school at the University of Michigan in the fall of 2008.[7][8]

She has been coached by Arkady Burdan of Nellya Fencers, and Henry Hartunian at Yale.

Fencing career[edit]

College & Under-19 career[edit]

Jacobson was a 2-time NCAA sabre champion for Yale University (2001 and 2002).[9] She won an NCAA Championship and earned 1st-team All-America honors as a freshman at Yale, after a 30–0 regular season. Jacobson was 29–1 as a sophomore, and repeated as NCAA champion. In addition, she was the 2001 Under-19 National Champion.

Senior World Championships[edit]

Jacobson is a 4-time Senior World Championships team member (2000–03). She was a member of the gold-medal 2000 Women's Sabre World Championship team at the age of 17. She won another bronze medal at the 2006 World Fencing Championships sabre competition.

In her first individual World Championships in 2001, Jacobson placed 12th. She placed 5th in 2002 and 2003.

Pan American Games[edit]

Jacobson won the gold medal in sabre at the 2003 Pan American Games.[10]

National Championships[edit]

Jacobson won the US women's sabre championship in 2004 and 2006.[11]

She was ranked # 1 in the US from June 2003 through October 2005.[citation needed]

Number 1 World Ranking[edit]

In 2004 she became the first U.S. woman to be ranked No. 1 in the world in sabre, and only the second U.S. athlete to claim the title, after male fencer Keeth Smart.[5][12][13]

Olympic Medals[edit]

2004 Athens Olympics[edit]

In 2004, she took a leave of absence from Yale University and qualified for the U.S. Olympic team. That year was the first in which women's individual sabre was contested at an Olympic Games.[14][15]

At the Olympics, Jacobson beat Miclin Faez 15–4, in the round of 16. She beat Leonore Perrus in the quarterfinals 15–11 to advance to the semifinals. She lost to # 5 seed Tan Xue 15–12 in the semis. On August 17, she won the bronze medal by beating Catalina Gheorhitoaia 15–7. That match took place before the gold-silver match, and therefore Jacobsen became the first women's sabre Olympic medalist.[16][17] That year, the Olympic Gold, first place, medal went to fellow American Mariel Zagunis.

2008 Beijing Olympics[edit]

At the 2008 Summer Olympics, Jacobson was named the top seed.[18] She beat Mailyn González, 15–11, in the round of 32. In the round of 16, she trailed Ukrainian fencer Olga Kharlan 8–5, but came back to win 15–13. In the quarterfinals, she beat Elena Khomrova 15–11.

Entering the semifinals, all three American fencers were still in the tournament. In the semifinals, Jacobson again trailed 8–5 at the break, but came back with 10 out of the final 13 touches in the bout, and defeated Sofiya Velikaya 15–11, assuring Jacobson of at least the silver medal. In the final, Jacobson lost to defending gold medalist, Mariel Zagunis, 15–8, and won the silver medal.[19] The United States swept the event, with Zagunis winning the gold, Jacobson the silver, and Rebecca Ward the bronze.[20]

When the three medal winners finished their group hug, a gentleman in the front row, moved by the show of emotion, reached into his pocket and produce a neatly folded white handkerchief, handing it down to Jacobson. Her silver medal still hanging around her neck by a bright red ribbon, she laughed, dabbed her eyes and handed it back. The man laughed with her and dabbed his own eyes. Moments later Jacobson thought, "Maybe I should have kept it." But by then the hanky, full of her tears, was back in the pocket of former president George H.W. Bush.[20]

In the women's sabre team event, the US was heavily favored to win the team event.[21][22] Jacobson teamed up with Zagunis and Ward to defeat the South African team in the quarterfinals, 45–8.[23] In the semifinals, they fenced the team from the Ukraine. The Ukrainians, seeded fifth, defeated the favored US team 45–39, denying them a gold medal, and placing them in the bronze medal bout against France.[24]

The USA team rebounded from their semifinal loss by defeating the French team 45–38, so Jacobson had a bronze medal to go with her silver medal from the individual competition.[25]

Post-fencing career[edit]

Jacobson indicated that she intended to retire from competitive fencing after the 2008 Olympic competitions concluded, and focus on law school, and starting life with her fiance.[26] She began her studies at the University of Michigan Law School in 2008.[8] She and Brendan Brunelle Bâby, who graduated from Pennsylvania State University where he competed in épée and was a member of three NCAA championship teams, were married in May 2009 in Atlanta at the Nellya Fencers Club, where she had trained for both the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics.[2]


  • Jacobson, who is Jewish, received the Marty Glickman Award for the Outstanding Jewish Scholastic Athlete of the Year in both 2002 and 2005.[27]
  • She was also named Academic All-Ivy League for the spring of 2002.
  • In 2003 Jacobson was named the U.S. Fencer of the Year.
  • In 2003, she was inducted in the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, which recognizes outstanding Jewish athletes.[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sada Jacobson, Brendan Bâby". The New York Times. May 17, 2009. Retrieved March 27, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Sada Jacobson, Brendan Bâby". The New York Times. May 17, 2009. Retrieved May 23, 2010. 
  3. ^ Judy Fortin (December 15, 2008). "Olympic fencer inspires new generation". CNN. Retrieved March 27, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Sada Jacobson | Athletes | US Fencing". Retrieved March 27, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b [1][dead link]
  6. ^ "Fencer Jacobson '06 takes silver in Beijing". Yale Daily News. August 10, 2008. Archived from the original on August 22, 2008. Retrieved August 22, 2008. 
  7. ^ Sheinin, Dave (August 10, 2008). "In Fencing, U.S. Women Pull Off Historic Sweep". Washington Post. Retrieved August 22, 2008. 
  8. ^ a b Slater, Dan (August 11, 2008). "Upon Returning from Beijing, Fencing Champ Will Be Law School Bound". WSJ. Retrieved March 27, 2010. 
  9. ^][
  10. ^ Ralph Hickok (February 18, 2009). "Pan American Games Fencing Medalists". Retrieved March 27, 2010. 
  11. ^ Ralph Hickok (February 18, 2009). "U. S. Fencing Champions". Retrieved March 27, 2010. 
  12. ^ [2][dead link]
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Olympics Statistics: Sada Jacobson". Retrieved 2012-06-10. 
  15. ^ "Sada Jacobson Olympic Results". Retrieved 2012-06-10. 
  16. ^ "Ivy Women in Sports". Retrieved March 27, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Athens 2004 Olympics, Fencing – Fencing Results". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved March 27, 2010. 
  18. ^ "Olympics". The Sports Network. Retrieved March 27, 2010. 
  19. ^ "Olympics". The Sports Network. Retrieved March 27, 2010. 
  20. ^ a b Sheinin, Dave (August 10, 2008). "In Fencing, U.S. Women Pull Off Historic Sweep". Retrieved March 27, 2010. 
  21. ^ The Guardian (London)  Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  22. ^ "Topic Galleries". Retrieved March 27, 2010. 
  23. ^ [3][dead link]
  24. ^ [4][dead link]
  25. ^ "Former Olympic fencer Sada Jacobson transitions to life as a Michigan law student". May 12, 2010. Retrieved January 3, 2011. 
  26. ^ "Fencing: The new baseball? – TODAY in Beijing". MSNBC. August 13, 2008. Retrieved March 27, 2010. 
  27. ^ "Jewish Sports Hall of Fame". March 24, 2002. Retrieved March 27, 2010. 
  28. ^ "Jewish Heroes in America". Retrieved March 27, 2010. 

External links[edit]