For 17-year-old Victor from Sweden, this year in Boulder, Colorado, has involved the exchange of technique, sportsmanship and skill in a sport that dates back to the Italian Renaissance.
Victor has been fencing since he was eight years old, when his father, an Olympic Silver medalist in the sport, first allowed him to begin training. Victor fell in love with fencing and has been an avid participant in the sport ever since. Along with his passion for fencing came a skill set fit for international competition. Victor won Swedish Fencing Championships in his age group twice at the ages of 12 and 13.
Over the course of the year, Victor has enjoyed training with a local club that is not affiliated with his high school. He is currently the only foreigner in the club, where he has made many close friends, in addition to his friends at high school. He has also competed in several local tournaments and three out of state tournaments in New Mexico, Virginia and Kentucky.
Victor fences with his left hand, which is a rarity in the fencing world. This has given his American teammates the opportunity to practice with an unusual opponent. His teammates have enjoyed the chance to duel with an international competitor right in their home gym, while gaining insight into the Swedish perspective on their shared craft.
Despite his athletic success with the fencing club, when asked to name the best part of his experience living in the United States, Victor responds, “It’s a mixture of everything, that’s what makes the experience. In Colorado I can go hiking and skiing with my host family, and it’s amazing to have the opportunity to be an hour and a half away from great ski resorts.”
As for the future, Victor is applying to several American universities and hoping to earn a spot on a fencing team. He is unsure about pursing fencing to the Olympic level because he knows firsthand what a huge time commitment that can be, but he does plan to continue for the foreseeable future. For now, he is focused on enjoying his final weeks in Colorado with his wonderful host family, friends and teammates. He also plans to encourage others to study abroad when he returns to Sweden. “It’s my turn to pass it on the next younger students. I would tell anyone to do it.”