by, 12-06-2011 at 12:57 PM (493 Views)
Alexandr Romankov is often remembered for his ten World Championships and five Olympic medals, and is generally considered one of the greatest fencers in history. However, what is often overlooked--and, perhaps, is far more interesting--is that Romankov's early fencing career was unexceptional. He spent many years without any great success in the sport. He loved fencing, however, and had a coach that insisted that, with diligence and patience, Romankov would eventually excel, so he continued to train hard.
The Soviet national coaches and fencing federation were so unconvinced of Romankov's prospects as an athlete that it was only in 1974, after his diligence and patience paid off and he won every national competition, including the USSR National Championship, that he was finally permitted to join the national team and compete internationally. In fact, although he had already won every domestic event, he was told that anything other than first place at the Nationals would mean he would not be on the national team. One month later he won the World Championships*.
Success is often romanticized as something magical or...
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