Italian Elisa Di Francisca took home a fencing gold on Saturday, and her brand and career are going to blossom.
She prevailed in a dramatic final against fellow Italian Arianna Errigo by a score of 12-11, and she needed extra time to do so.
This triumph was not just about her performance in the finals. She didn't even get to that point until she upset Nam Hyun-Hee of South Korea in the semifinals.
Her opponent in the finals had a similarly difficult task to reach that stage. In the other semi, Errigo took down three-time defending gold medalist Italy's Valentina Vezzali.
It was a compelling day of competition, which saw a ton of elite play, but it is Di Francisca who stole the show.
This type of success is not foreign to Di Francisca—she won the Senior World Championships in 2010. However, winning that competition will wind up paling in comparison to an Olympic gold.
The lights don't get any brighter in the fencing world then they are at the Olympics. Di Francisca faced the best the world had to offer and found a way to come out on top. The poise she found during this gold medal run will benefit her going forward.
She displayed ample skill and the ability to adapt. This quote from her, captured by the Associated Press, points towards the mental approach she took in this final. "Normally, I play more like a tiger, but in the final I calmed down."
With Italy dominating this event, it is sure to capture national attention. The public consciousness is going to have no problem attaching itself to this marketable talent.
This gold medal is not just going to propel Di Francisca to great things in her sport, but also make her a star. That's not an easy trick for a fencing standout, but it is one Di Francisca is capable of pulling off.