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Fencers Revisit Their Roots

By Christine Newby | July 30, 2012, 10 p.m. (ET)

Miles Chamley-Watson plans to quiet down the British.

Born in England, the first-time fencing Olympian moved to the United States at age 8 with his mother. The rest of his family still live in England. And since Chamley-Watson made his first junior team at age 16, Great Britain is wondering why he decided to sport the red, white and blue for the United States instead.

“It’s a good opportunity to fence for England but the fact that I started fencing in America, I’d like to represent America,” Chamley-Watson said. “I think it’s the right choice for me and it ended up working out. I’ve gotten a lot of grief, but it comes with being in London.”

Foil teammate Race Imboden also has roots in England. The two fencers will compete in the men’s individual foil event Tuesday.

“I understand that I was born in England, but my goal is to come back to the U.S. with a gold medal,” Chamley-Watson said.

To start the day off, Chamley-Watson takes on Egypt’s Alaaeldin Abouelkassem in the round of 32, while Imboden faces the winner of the round of 64 contest between Morocco’s Lahoussine Ali and Brazil’s Guilherme Toldo.

Being from London, Chamley-Watson has felt a cultural advantage when it comes to showing his teammates around, especially with food and the weather.

“They ask me, ‘What’s that?’ And I would say ‘It’s shepherd’s pie,’” Chamley-Watson said. “Nobody else knows what that is but me. It’s nice to be able to have the food and the wine gums. All those little things that I love, it’s nice to come back and be able to eat them.”

Imboden, whose mother is from northern England, has dual citizenship in the United States and United Kingdom. Just like Chamley-Watson, the 19-year-old is also looking forward to competing in a familiar place. Despite the added pressure of competing in England, Imboden said he doesn’t let it stress him out. Instead, he uses it for empowerment.

Imboden added his Olympic experience is more about the journey with his mother than an individual achievement.

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Miles Chamley-Watson