The first half of this Olympics, which showcased the individual events in fencing, was full of surprises, great stories, and the birth of new stars in fencing who brought a great deal of pride to their nations. The surprises went in both directions – frustrating, unpleasant, and disappointing, as well as inspiring, motivating, and uplifting
This is what we come to the Olympics for, this huge spectrum of emotion and inspiration. It’s the depth of the experience that is so incredibly satisfying.
The uniqueness of the Olympics
One of the most beautiful things about the Olympics is that it offers us the biggest sports drama on the biggest stage. The stakes are highest in the lives of the athletes because for many niche sports, this is the only time that the world is watching. The international news only covers rowing, gymnastics, swimming, and fencing once every four years! Even for mainstream sports like basketball, the Olympics offer a rare opportunity to represent a country with pride. It is a moment that is unlike any other, given the worldwide attention and the patriotism.
The Olympics are arguably the most nerve-wracking experience for athletes. That pressure usually falls hardest onto the favorites of a sport, the strongest in the field of contenders. They have to prove to the whole world that they are indeed the best. In a sport like fencing, it is extremely difficult for the leaders to perform at the Olympics at the level that is expected from them. Those athletes who are not quite so far at the front, the underdogs of the sport, they have nothing to lose. That makes the race fundamentally different for them.
The newly crowned Olympic Champion in men’s individual foil, Edgar Ka-Long Cheung, said in this interview after winning the Gold today, “I thought to myself – everyone was either an Olympic champion or a world champion, and I was nobody. That helped me relax a bit”