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Sarah Pak

Fencing

Picture

Fencing Event: Women's Sabre
Birthdate: 6/8/1993
Birthplace: New York
Resides: Roslyn, N.Y.
Height / Weight: 5' 9" / 140 lbs
School: Roslyn High School
Club: Mahattan Fencing Center
Coach: Andrew Lamianski

Career Results:

2010- Junior Olympics, 3rd in Women's Sabre

2009- Cadet World Cup in Grodollo, Team gold medal

2009- Cadet World Cup in Konn, Germany, Bronze medal

Personal

Hobbies: Violin, piano, ukulele, member of the model congress club, and the Science Olympiad team.
 
How did you start fencing?
Since I was young, I've had an abiding love for all medieval sports.  Horseback riding , sadly, was killed over a dinnertime discussion, as was Jousting (too dangerous was the response I received).  I pressed ahead and pursued my dream of becoming a killer archer.  It took persistence, but I finally walked out of the Sprots Authority with a Lil' Banshee compound bow and three arrows.  That same afternoon, my dream of be coming the next Legolas ended in quite a spectacular fashion, as an arrow flying nearly a football field in length landed into a nearby Mercedes car dealership.  I begged my parents in a last ditch effort, with all the eloquence of a nine-year old, to sign up for some "sword fighting classes" after watching Star Wars: The Phantom of Menance.
 
What has been your favorite moment while fencing?
It's hard to pin down a "favorite moment" because I've been fencing for so long that all my favorite moments have blurred togather.  When I was younger, I used to treasure the victories. But now, I value the bouts (even in practice) against challenging fencers, where I am completely focused and relaxed, in "the zone", and planning out actions, regardless of whether I win or lose.
What is your motivation?
I am motivated by the intense focus and creativity that fencing produces. When I an fencing my best, I understand myself, and my opponent, and try to create actions to challenge my opponent.  The best thing is, in a good bout, the two fencers aren't even trying to consciously defeat the other; instead, they're challenging each other to do their best.
 
Who has influenced your fencing career and how?
Yury Gelman, coach of the men's National Sabre Team, has made the biggest influence in my fencing career.  Before him, I was just fencing on reaction; he was the one who made it a true sport and a passion for me.  He emphasizes the tactical part of fencing, which to me is the most fascinating and intriguing parts of fencing.  Fencing is not a sport where you're trying to defeat an opponent, but rather a sport where you have to understand your opponent at a deep level.  It's one thing to observe and recognize actions; it is an entirely different level of mastery to create actions to force your opponent to react in certain and predictable ways.  It requires risk-taking, intelligence, experimentation, and discipline.  In that respect, fencing is a microcosm of life, and Yury Gelman has helped me appreciate that.
 
What are your fencing goals this year and in the future?
For the short term, it's to improve my technique and think more tactically.  I plan to train harder and become a better athlete.  My long-term goal is to compete in 2016 Olympics in Rio.
 
How do you train?
TWELVE DAYS A WEEK!  I FENCE 26 HOURS A DAY AND I ALWAYS DRINK MY GATORADE STRAIGHT (never diluted).
Nah.  It's a bit of a shame/point of pride?, but in reality , I don't fence nearly as much as our European competitors.  I fence 4 times a week.  Among the three days I don't fence, I run on my treadmill for 30 minutes for two of them.  I also do the occasional push-up here and there.
 
What are some of the biggest hurdles / challenges you've had to overcome in your fencing career?
The biggest hurdle in my fencing career was overcoming my self-dought.  It took many, many tournaments, some tough self-talk, and the support of my coach, friends, and family to overcome it.
 
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I'm a political news junkie. I love read any good book and hope to write one someday.  I have an insatiable fetish for foreign music and good foreign films.