The U.S. men's sabre team lost on the final touch twice, dropping dramatic matches against eventual gold medalist France in the semifinals and then Russia for the bronze.

"This one really hurt," said Keeth Smart, who was in tears after losing out on the medal. "It wasn't meant to be for whatever reason."

Smart entered the final rotation against Russia with a 40-35 lead, but four-time gold medalist Stanislav Pozdniakov pulled even at 44. After neither scored on a double-touch, Smart attacked but hesitated for split-second, which gave Pozdniakov an opening.

"When you pull back your arm," Smart said, "you're automatically going to be punished."

The loss to France was tougher. After upsetting Hungary, the Americans trailed France 40-38 in the semifinals when Smart came in to fence Damien Touya. Smart rallied to tie it at 44. On the next play, Smart's sabre went through Touya's glove, piercing his hand at the webbing of the fingers, and exiting through his palm. Touya received treatment and returned.

On the fourth attempt at a deciding point, Smart and Touya both recorded touches, but Touya caught Smart while preparing to attack, giving the Frenchman the victory.

"France . . . you know . . . man, that hurt," Smart said.

-- From News Services

Keeth Smart, left, lunges at Russia's Serguei Charikov; U.S. finished fourth.