FROM BEGINNER TO TOKYO 2020
Tokyo 2020 is no longer a dream, but a reality to Shaul Gordon and we cannot be any prouder of him. An IVY league UPenn undergraduate and a current law student, shares his feelings after finding out he will be representing Canada and our entire local and national community at the Olympics
"My first thought after qualifying for the Olympics was one of gratitude. I immediately started receiving a ton of congratulatory messages from family, friends, coaches, past teammates... It was truly touching. The fencing community is a small one, but I was overwhelmed by how many people were following and supporting my Olympic journey."
Since his childhood, Shaul was always fascinated with swords and was into sword fights. Until one day, when Shaul was 7 years old, his parents brought him to a local fencing club. His life changed ever since as he truly fell in love with the sport.
"I was really into sword fights when I was young. My brother and I would watch a black and white Zorro TV show every night."
A MESSAGE FROM SHAUL
"Enjoy the entire journey.
When the training is hard, or you are competing and are stressed - do not forget what you love about this sport. For me this has been very important of late: when practice seems to be just endless repetitions, and I am tired and frustrated, I remind myself what I love about the sport, and try to enjoy every part of it."
INTERVIEW WITH SHAUL
Q: What feelings do experience and thoughts go through your mind when you get on the piste as a bout begins?
I am always quite nervous before the start of a competition. Through time, I have learned to better channel and use that nervousness, so that it does not interfere with my fencing. By the time I get on the strip, I am usually ready to go. I like to have a clear game plan before I get ‘en garde’, and as the bout begins I am only focused on my fencing and my opponent.
Q: What one bout you will never forget and why?
I will never forget my bout at the 2012 Junior World Championships in Moscow, where I fenced against my teammate Fares Arfa and lost 15-11. I had worked very hard that entire year and medalled at national and international competitions. To lose against a fellow Canadian at Worlds was devastating at the time. Looking back, this bout was a great learning experience, which spurred me forward.
Q: Which strengths do you believe helped you become a great athlete and paved the way to Tokyo?
My coaches and teammates have helped me become the fencer I am today. Each one of them has helped me in my journey towards Tokyo in their own way.
Q: What's the best piece of advice you've gained from your coaches?
That competitive sport is like a marathon, not a sprint. There will be a lot of ups and downs: what is key is to persevere and try to improve a little bit every day.