Dueling for Gold: Beijing’s Silver Medalist Fencer Goes for Gold in London
You are dressed head to toe in an all-white jumpsuit and your entire head is covered in a mask. You look down and find a sword placed in your dominant hand. You look up and see someone dressed identical to you, except now, they are lunging at you quickly with a sword pointed at your chest.
Think quickly. What do you do?
This is the situation that Tim Morehouse, Olympic Silver Medalist and Technogym Wellness Ambassador, encounters every time he competes in fencing matches.
Fencing is a unique and dynamic sport and one that demands its athletes to be agile, sharp and dexterous. Tim Morehouse most readily demonstrated these skills at the 2008 Beijing Olympics where he competed with teammates Keith Smart, Jason Rogers and James Williams as they captured a Silver Medal in Men’s Saber which was the first medal for the US since 1948. This time around, Williams and Morehouse will still be competing together, but they will have two new additions to their team: Daryl Homer and Jeff Spear.
What can fans expect from the sport of fencing at this year’s Olympic Games? What does it mean to be an Olympic athlete?
Tim Morehouse answers these questions and more in this exclusive interview:
Fencing has three different swords: foil, epee and saber. I compete with the saber which is based on the cavalry sword. It is a slashing blade and the target area is the upper body. It is most closely related to what you’d see Zorro or the Three Musketeers doing. With foil and epee, you can only hit with the tip of the blade. In foil the blade is lighter and the target area is just the chest and torso. This is how people trained for their duels with lighter weapons that couldn’t inflict much damage and with a small target to work on the precision. Epee, also a very common crossword puzzle answer, is the blade that was used for duels. You hit with the tip and can hit any part of the body.
What are you doing to prepare for the Olympics – both in terms of physical and mental training?
Olympic preparation started for me right after the closing ceremonies ended in Beijing 2008. While the Olympics can be “out of the spotlight” for a few years to the public, the athletes have to prepare year round for four years to try to make it to the Games and win Gold. We train five days a week, four to six hours a day plus video work, sports psychology and physical therapy to go along with our fencing specific training and weight training. Now that we’re within 60 days, I’m really trying to remain focused on the big goal: win Gold and remain true to my routines and what has gotten me here.
What does it personally mean to you to be an Olympian?
Representing my country is the greatest honor I can imagine. This will be my third Olympic Games, but it never gets old. Heading into the opening ceremony stadium with 80,000 plus screaming fans as you walk behind your flag and surrounded by all of the other athletes is truly an unbelievable experience.
What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Olympic Games?
To be washed away in the Olympic spirit. It is such a powerful and transcending happening for our world. Living in the Olympic Village with athletes from almost every country in the world is always a special experience. Plus, I believe that being able to participate in such a global event that means so much in terms of our ability as humankind to overcome our differences and compete on the field of play together shows the possibilities for a brighter future for our world.
The city of London is a very special place for professional fencing athletes because of the sport’s pastime and tradition in Great Britain. Olympic fans can expect to see some powerful and intense matches with traditional powers like Russia, France, Hungary and Italy while up and coming nations like China, Korea and the US will also remain competitive while battling for medals.
Good luck to Tim Morehouse and the rest of his team this July!