Four members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic fencing team were at the University of Richmond Saturday to teach a three-weapon clinic for avid fencers.
The clinic was hosted by Salle Green, a fencing club in Glen Allen, Va., owned by University of Richmond alumnus Walter Green.
Two-time Olympian Tim Morehouse, 34, of N.Y., said reaching out to young fencers had been a priority for him and his teammates.
“Following the Olympic Games, we wanted to spread as much knowledge as we could,” Morehouse said. “We just want to inspire some kids and teach them what it takes to be an Olympian.”
Morehouse was joined by London Games teammates Nicole Ross, 23, of N.Y., Dagmara Wozniak, 24, of N.J., and Susie Scanlan, 22, of Minn. Ross is an NCAA champion in foil, Morehouse and Wozniak were both ranked in the top eight in London for sabre and Scanlan came home from London with a bronze in women’s épée — a first for the U.S. Olympic team.
Both Morehouse and Wozniak had been to the Olympic Games before London, serving as alternates in Athens and Beijing respectively, and Morehouse won a silver medal in Beijing for men’s sabre. For Ross and Scanlan, London was their Olympics debut.
“As fencers, we’re always representing our country,” Ross said, “but it’s such a different experience being an American at the Olympic Games.”
The fencing there wasn’t much different from other high-level competitions, Scanlan said, but the environment was. “It was just weird having so many people cheering when you scored,” she said.
Even for Morehouse, after his third trip to the Olympics, that environment has never lost its magic. “I always say it’s like Narnia,” he said to a group of mesmerized young fencers whom he agreed to take pictures with afterward.
This kind of exposure to Olympians is important for young athletes, Wozniak said. She trained in the same club as Morehouse when she was growing up. “I think it makes a big impression,” she said.
The teammates agreed that their presence at clinics was a promotion for their sport.
“Not everyone realizes there’s fencing around them,” Morehouse said, “but there is. There’s a great community in Richmond.”
Contact reporter Katie Branca at firstname.lastname@example.org