RIO DE JANEIRO — When Courtney Hurley stepped up to the strip Saturday for her first match of the Olympics, she already felt like she had lost.
The 25-year-old fencer was up against Ukrainian Yana Shemyakina, the individual epee champion in 2012 in London.
“In my heart, I knew I was going to lose,” said Hurley, a Warren High School graduate making her second Olympics appearance. “I’ve lost every single priority to that girl. I just already lost before it even started.”
From the start of her 14-13 overtime loss in the round of 32, the match was plagued by doubles, with both fencers scoring touches within milliseconds of each other. Hurley eventually hit her stride, going on a 10-5 run to take a 13-9 lead.
Away from the crowd, Hurley’s older sister and three-time Olympian Kelley Hurley, 28, — who would later lose in the same round, 15-11 to Brazil’s Nathalie Moellhausen — begged the other fencers in a room to change the television channel so she could check in on her sister. With the score at 13-10, Kelley was relieved.
But back on the strip, Courtney struggled to keep her lead. Shemyakina tied the score at 13-13 with only 45 seconds remaining, forcing the match into sudden-death overtime. With one final touch, Courtney was out.
In the wake of her sister’s loss, Kelley Hurley stepped onto the strip to face Moellhausen.
Throughout much of the first round, Hurley and Moellhausen were evenly matched, going back and forth until the match ended at 4-3. But in the second round, Hurley quickly lost her footing, as Moellhausen scored seven touches on Hurley to pull away.
“The only sad part about my draw is that I knew the whole crowd would be against me,” Hurley said.
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