Race to London: Park Slope’s Imboden seeking Olympic glory
By John Torenli, Sports Editor
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Race is on.
Race Imboden, that is.
The 19-year-old Park Slope resident will be wearing the red, white and blue for the United States fencing team at the upcoming Olympic Games in London, hoping to secure a medal in the men’s foil competition.
Fresh off capturing individual gold at the Pan American Championships in Cancun last week, Imboden, who took up the sport on the advice of a stranger who noticed him playing with swords as a child, was scheduled to make his final stateside appearance at Tuesday night’s Olympic Fencing Team exhibition at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom.
Imboden, who earned a bronze medal at the Cadet World Championships in 2010 at the age of 16, has already captured a pair of golds on the junior level as a member of Team USA’s back-to-back World Championship-winning squads.
Brooklyn’s fencing sensation says his coach, 2004 Olympian Jed Dupree, “opened his eyes to the mental aspects of fencing which have allowed him to acheive the success he has had in recent years”, but he still insists one of his biggest challenges is controlling his emotions on the strip.
“Every time I get out there, if you’ve got even a second of hesitation or your mind slips for a second, [your opponent will] get you,” said the alum of Manhattan’s prestigious Dwight School.
A rising star in the somewhat underappreciated fencing scene, Imboden hopes not only to stand on the winner’s podium in London next month during the playing of the national anthem, but also to raise the profile of his beloved sport.
“Fencing has always been a European thing and the European guys have dominated,” Imboden said in a recent interveiw. “But now the U.S. is starting to be in the mix of guys who are top competitors in the world. Being so young, I want to show people that Americans can mix with these guys, individually and [as] a team.”
Currently ranked fourth in the world, Imboden appears primed and ready to deliver for Team USA, and Brooklyn, on fencing’s biggest stage.
“We’ve got a great camaraderie and we’re shooting for gold and not anything less.” he said.
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