AMAZING Fencing Video of the Day: Mariel Zagunis TD Ameritrade Commercial!

This is awesome!

You can catch Mariel along with most of the 2012 US Olympic Fencing Team competing LIVE in NYC at Fencing Masters: Kick-Off to London on Tuesday, June 26. Tickets are going fast…don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity!

Tickets and info:

Cool Olympic Picture of the Day: The London 2012 Olympic Medals!

Some info from the website

At 400 grams, 85 millimeters in diameter and seven millimeters thick, it is the heaviest Olympic medal ever.

The rear of the London medals show the controversial 2012 Games logo over a ribbon representing the River Thames through the middle of London, and a pick-up sticks geometric figure that officials say represents the energy of athletes and a sense of pulling together.

But now, the sordid underbelly of this story:

Gold medallists might be a little disappointed, however, to discover that their medals are actually 92.5 percent silver and contain just 1.34 percent gold, extracted from Rio Tinto’s Kennecott Copper Mine near Salt Lake City.

What do you think of the medals? Like them?

The Sport of Fencing is (Officially!) Coming Back to TV in the USA!

Not since the 1980s  has a fencing tournament in the USA (outside of the Olympics) been televised!    That drought is over and this is only the beginning ! (Especially if we have your support!)

The official press release is below. Now, LET’S SELL OUT HAMMERSTEIN BALLROOM (2000 seats!) AND SHOW THE WORLD OUR GREAT SPORT!

Tickets and info:




NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 6, 2010 – The first ever Fencing Masters NYC brings world champion fencers to New York City to compete in the largest spectator-fencing tournament in modern USA history, outside of the Olympics.  Produced by WCMG Events, the Fencing Masters NYC will be hosted by Tim Morehouse, US champion and Olympic Silver medalist, on November 17, 2010 at the Hammerstein Ballroom. The tournament will be televised on SportsNet NY (SNY), reaching 14.5 million homes in the tri-state area, and is the first non-Olympic US fencing competition to hit the airwaves since the 1980’s. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Olympic fencing hopefuls as they train to compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics.

The tournament will feature Olympic fencing champions, Aldo Montano (Italy), Nicolas Lopez (France), Olga Kharlan, (Ukraine), and Mariel Zagunis (USA), along with international Olympians, Jaime Marti (Spain), Alex O’ Connell (Britain), and USA Olympic medalists and champions, Tim Morehouse, Ben Igoe, and Daryl Homer.  Team USA will fence the International Champions during a dramatic and unprecedented evening of fencing entertainment, exhibition, and inspiration.

“We are very excited to bring this event to New York City to introduce our sport to new fans,“ says Tim Morehouse event organizer.  “The tournament provides a great opportunity to showcase and educate New Yorkers and Americans about the athleticism and prestige surrounding the sport.”

In support of this extraordinary and historic evening, fencing clubs across the country are hosting men’s saber qualifier tournaments, the winner earning a chance to compete against Olympic Gold medalist, Aldo Montano, in front of the 2000-plus spectators expected to attend.

The Fencing Masters NYC kicks off at 3:00 p.m. at the Hammerstein Ballroom with a Fencing Expo for kids, adults, fencers, and non-fencers alike.  At 6:30 p.m., VIP’s will be treated to a meet and greet with additional celebrity athletes from the world’s of figure skating, speed skating, synchronized swimming, rowing, and women’s basketball, along with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Doors open for the main event at 7:00 p.m. to general admission ticket holders.

For more information on sponsorship opportunities, donations, or to purchase tickets, go to or email

About Fencing Masters NYC

The Fencing Masters NYC (, in partnership with WCMG events (, features Olympic champions from around the world in the largest non-Olympic spectator-fencing tournament to be held in the US in the modern era. This event offers an extraordinary and unique behind-the-scenes experience dedicated to the sport of fencing, with a portion of the proceeds donated to Team USA Olympic hopefuls training to compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics


M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment

Jody Sowa

o:646-274-1428, c:917- 691-0952

Two Years to London Olympics Celebration: “The Olympics Are Like Chronicles of Narnia”

Along with my fellow fencing Olympic teammates Keeth Smart, Erinn Smart and Susie Paxton we attended a celebration held by the British Consulate on the HMS Albion docked at NYC.

On hand were numerous Olympians, dignitaries and others to celebrate the half-way point to the next Summer Olympic Games!

You can check out the article here:

And, my interview where I compared the Olympics to the Chronicles of Narnia…

BBC News: Fencing Pin Up Makes Her Point

I checked the data on my blog today and saw an EXPLOSION of searches for Olga Kharlan, the Ukrainian Olympic women’s saber gold medalist in team from Beijing….
Turns out BBC news had a world-wide feature on her…some of the story is below and there is also a link to a great interview of her as well!
Go fencing and love the world-wide publicity!  Will she be our first international star? We could use one!
By Ollie Williams
BBC Sport

“I still don’t realise I’m a sports star.”

In most people’s books, Olga Kharlan would not be one. But, while fencing struggles to find an audience in many countries, the 19-year-old sabre specialist helped it onto the Ukrainian front pages with one of the most memorable displays of the Beijing Games. READ MORE:

Interestingly enough…BBC news will be tracking Olga’s Olympic qualification and there is a place to email her questions within the story…wonder how they selected Kharlan versus our very own Zagunis for example?

World Class

Olga Kharlan is one of the athletes being tracked for World Class 2012 in partnership with the British Council.

Flat Broke and a US Olympian, but Worth It

Dear Friends of My Olympic Dream and Fellow Dreamers,

The past year and a half plus since winning a Silver Medal with my teammates at the Beijing Olympics in fencing has been such a tremendous ride in many ways, but also one of considerable financial challenge.

In deciding to train full-time for the London 2012 Games and really “go for the gold” I knew there would be challenges and also exciting opportunities!  I wasn’t sure how I would be able to “make it work” living in New York City with little to no income, but I had faith that “going for it” would be worthwhile adventure.  I also made a leap of faith that I’d be able to succeed in the long-shot goal of being sponsored by a company as a small sport athlete in a low visibility sport.   And of course, there is no guarantee I will qualify for London.  So much has to go right still.

Before the previous two Olympics (Athens and Beijing) I had worked full-time as a teacher and then at Teach For America, sometimes working  up to 80 hours a week while fitting in training 3-5 hours a day.

For me to realistically try to win the gold, I knew it would take some extraordinary measures to improve my fencing which couldn’t happen while working full-time.    In the beginning, things went fairly smoothly.   But after a year or so when I had exhausted the money I saved from working the previous four years plus the $15,000 Olympic bonus I received for the Silver Medal in Beijing,  let’s just say things got a whole lot heavier and urgent when that happened.   I recently read a statistic on the US Olympic Committee website that 85% of US Olympic hopefuls make $15,000 dollars or less a year…that sounds about right!

Over the past six months, I have known the pressure of struggling to pay rent (last month I bounced a rent check for the first time in life), maxing out credit cards ($14,000+ worth of debt right now) and  felt the shame of having to borrow money and to beg for the small money we’re given as athletes when the funds mysteriously don’t arrive when they should .  My rent in NYC, where I live with a roommate in a one bedroom converted to a two is $1350 dollars a month.   My main source of income has been the stipend I get from the US Olympic Committee. I receive $2,000 a month if I’m ranked 16th or better in the world and $1,000 if I’m 17th-30th.  I’m currently ranked 16th in the world and have danced around this number for the past year.   So literally I feel the pressure of fencing for my rent and food each competition!

Each first of the month, I sweat it out to see if my stipend payment will actually come on-time so I can pay my rent.  When it doesn’t arrive, which has happened 3-4 times over the past year, I’m left scrambling to make my rent payment. (Ironically, it is happening again this month…It’s never clear who is to blame…)

I gave myself two years from Beijing to try to set up the conditions that would allow me to pursue the first Gold Medal in US men’s fencing history:

#1 Continued improvement of my fencing (check)
– So far I’m ranked is #1 in USA and my results have improved internationally, but a lot of work to do

#2  Being able to train professionally (almost check)

–          I have an amazing team now at  a gym called Bodhizone which donates my training and physical therapy and I’m fortunate to have one of the best coaches in the world and also great teammates who train hard.

– (the “almost” part) The past 1.5 years I’ve had to spend a lot of time hustling and scrapping to work on visibility, marketing, promotion, PR and creating documents, business plans, networking and other things since that’s a part of acquiring a sponsor…you need to have value as a brand that you can demonstrate so this has certainly taken time from my training, but I now hope to turn my focus more towards fencing.

# 3 financial stability to live (Not a check, but hope)

–          Still a work in progress, but each month I seem to be getting  closer to a financial breakthrough…and currently in some exciting talks with a few companies regarding sponsorship…(hopefully something big to announce soon!)

So far this has been pretty depressing, ehh?   The past two years have also been the most AMAZING of my life!  In pursuing sponsorships, trying to promote my sport while training 5-6 hours a day, I have had the chance to meet amazing people, make tremendous growth in my professional skills, grow and be challenged as a person, and  learn the ins and outs of marketing/PR while brining some amazing new people into my life….

I’ve fenced with President Obama on the White House lawn, spoken on a panel at the United Nations, on Capitol Hill, received in-kind clothing from designers like Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein, Andrew Buckler and others, been named one of the top-10 bachelors by the NY Post, and one of the hot up and comers by Gotham Magazine and had feature stories in Vanity Fair and other publications.  I have my blog nearing 1,000 reads a day, written a book currently being shopped around to publishing companies by a great literary agent and become a Wilhelmina model (of all things!) and a had a whole host of other adventures.(All things that are pretty rare for a fencer!)

I’ve also been able to do a tremendous amount of good: I’ve Raised close to $50,000 for various charities, spoken to over 15,000 children about achieving their goals and more.

It’s been glamorous, but stressful.   What’s the New York saying, “Flat Broke and Fabulous”? I’m flat-broke and Olympic!  It’s the “new” category, but probably not that new to US Olympians from previous years.  Small sport athletes in the US are the true amateurs.

Only a few months ago, I started to really doubt if I’d be able to make it London since I had almost no money.   I had to get two cavities filled a few weeks ago only to discover that my Olympic insurance doesn’t cover dental, it was $1500 dollars I didn’t have….let’s just say I haven’t paid that bill yet…

What has kept me going has been the tremendous support team I’ve had:  My family, the amazing people at Bodhizone who train me, Paige, Scott, Jeff, Brant, and others (you know who you are!) and so many friends who keep believing in me and encouraging me onward.   There have also been those moments when I see that I’ve been able to impact someone’s life positively or just knowing that I’m getting to experience things most people won’t in their lives.

So I wanted to say, while my bank account is still empty, my cup is truly overflowing with goodness and life.  I appreciate all of it.   This is worth it. I also think some good news (and a sponsor or two) are just around the corner and felt like this was the right time to share some of the struggle.   I know there are many more people struggling far greater than I which is why I always hesitate to share my own tribulations.  When I stop to reflect I know that I’m truly blessed.

Thanks for your support!

Yours in pursuit of the Olympic dream,