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Thread: Average age for Olympic athletes?

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    Average age for Olympic athletes?

    Helloooo everyone.
    I'm new to fencing.net...I think I'm starting to love this website. It's addictive like facebook, but better since it involves kickass fencing discussions!

    I just wanted a general idea from you guys of what you think the average age of the Olympic fencer is. I've been watching a lot of fencing videos lately, and a lot of the male fencers seem older...but the women look really young! Especially the ones with star power...like Becca Ward, Zagunis, Jacobson, etc.

    Just wondering if you think there's a general invisible cutoff age before you're considered 'past your prime' in the fencing world.

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    Posting Hound Purple Fencer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LilyEve View Post
    Helloooo everyone.
    I'm new to fencing.net...I think I'm starting to love this website. It's addictive like facebook, but better since it involves kickass fencing discussions!

    I just wanted a general idea from you guys of what you think the average age of the Olympic fencer is. I've been watching a lot of fencing videos lately, and a lot of the male fencers seem older...but the women look really young! Especially the ones with star power...like Becca Ward, Zagunis, Jacobson, etc.

    Just wondering if you think there's a general invisible cutoff age before you're considered 'past your prime' in the fencing world.
    One thing about fencing is that you can be up into your 60s and still be competitive....age and treachery, y'know!

    Some of the toughest bouts I've had were against people a bit older than me.

    As for Olympians...the ladies have tended to be college age...the men a touch older, but not much as I recall.
    Need fencing equipment? See me at H.O.M. Fencing Supply

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    Just Joined Korts's Avatar
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    I don't think age is a big factor in fencing, to be honest--there are big differences; in women's epee you have Nagy Tímea, who has been at it for a surprisingly long time, to disprove the theory that olympic fencer ladies are college age. Then again, I agree with Purple Fencer--older fencers have more guile, usually, so really, once you have the basics all worked out, it all depends on your state of mind rather than your physical age whether you can be up there with the best.
    nyeh

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    Senior Member Sabresque's Avatar
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    Depends on the weapon and country-- there are a lot of factors. Womens saber fencers are younger because the discipline itself is young as well, and many US fencers are young because we cannot maintain them as athletes post-college. Top international fencers from other countries oftentimes are older. I'd say mid twenties is the average.
    -Sabresque

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    Senior Member Applesauce and Foils's Avatar
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    And this is such a refreshing fact for those of us who got a "late" start. It will always make me happy.

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    Senior Member Greg's Avatar
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    I remember watching the Olympics last summer and saw a South African epee fencer - Dario Torrente (probably mis-spelled his name) - who was about 43 or 44 years old. He's a really big guy (like a lot of Afrikaaner guys), really big for a fencer, even an epeeist! But he is very fast and good and gave his Portuguese opponent a very good bout. Probably some old southern African colonial rivalry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg View Post
    I remember watching the Olympics last summer and saw a South African epee fencer - Dario Torrente (probably mis-spelled his name) - who was about 43 or 44 years old. He's a really big guy (like a lot of Afrikaaner guys), really big for a fencer, even an epeeist! But he is very fast and good and gave his Portuguese opponent a very good bout. Probably some old southern African colonial rivalry.
    Canadian (by way of China) women's foilist Jujie Luan was 50 when she competed in Beijing last year, others have competed when older.

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    Member p1nkp4nther's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg View Post
    I remember watching the Olympics last summer and saw a South African epee fencer - Dario Torrente (probably mis-spelled his name) - who was about 43 or 44 years old. He's a really big guy (like a lot of Afrikaaner guys), really big for a fencer, even an epeeist! But he is very fast and good and gave his Portuguese opponent a very good bout. Probably some old southern African colonial rivalry.
    I'm a South African fencer and Dario lives ten minutes from me. He's a great guy and has been fencing for a looooong time )

    That said, fencing standards are not very high in SA, but we're working on it...
    Thoughts lead on to purposes; purposes go forth in action; actions form habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fdad View Post
    Canadian (by way of China) women's foilist Jujie Luan was 50 when she competed in Beijing last year, others have competed when older.
    And saying that an athlete is going to be to qual at 50 really isn't a reasonable expectation. Jujie Luan is kind of a superhuman in that regard. She's still fast as hell. Still has a lot of endurance. She works hard at keeping fit, I'm sure, but there have to be some favorable genetics there.

    If you're taking a weighted mean she'd definitely be an outlier that's removed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LilyEve View Post
    I just wanted a general idea from you guys of what you think the average age of the Olympic fencer is....Just wondering if you think there's a general invisible cutoff age before you're considered 'past your prime' in the fencing world.
    Well, if you want to waste your time messing around with "fencing stuff" online, you could go to the NBC Olympics site and gather the information yourself. The athlete profiles include birth year: http://www.nbcolympics.com/fencing/athletes/index.html

    If you go through the trouble of compiling the information, I'd be interested in the breakdown by gender and weapon. Perhaps someone has already gathered this information, but I haven't seen it before.

    Quote Originally Posted by LilyEve View Post
    Just wondering if you think there's a general invisible cutoff age before you're considered 'past your prime' in the fencing world.
    Past your prime for what goal? For making the Olympics? For learning to fence and having fun? For competing locally and nationally and winning events?

    Your questions seem to imply that you want to compete in some sport in the Olympics, and you don't really care which sport as long as you can start at your current age and have a reasonable chance of qualifying.

    For me, I fence because I love fencing. If that's the case for you, understand that you can really start at any age and still have an active and successful experience for many years in fencing, learning, improving, and competing. If you start fencing at 30, you might not have a very good chance of qualifying for the Olympics, but you certainly have time to improve so that you have a chance to qualify for the US Veteran team by the time you're a veteran fencer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tbryan View Post
    Well, if you want to waste your time messing around with "fencing stuff" online, you could go to the NBC Olympics site and gather the information yourself. The athlete profiles include birth year: http://www.nbcolympics.com/fencing/athletes/index.html

    If you go through the trouble of compiling the information, I'd be interested in the breakdown by gender and weapon. Perhaps someone has already gathered this information, but I haven't seen it before.



    Past your prime for what goal? For making the Olympics? For learning to fence and having fun? For competing locally and nationally and winning events?

    Your questions seem to imply that you want to compete in some sport in the Olympics, and you don't really care which sport as long as you can start at your current age and have a reasonable chance of qualifying.

    For me, I fence because I love fencing. If that's the case for you, understand that you can really start at any age and still have an active and successful experience for many years in fencing, learning, improving, and competing. If you start fencing at 30, you might not have a very good chance of qualifying for the Olympics, but you certainly have time to improve so that you have a chance to qualify for the US Veteran team by the time you're a veteran fencer.
    Thanks, tbryan. I was just simply curious to see what other people thought around here.

    And, I DO LOVE fencing. I think it's the best thing I've ever discovered. Hands down. I am trying my best to do well in this sport. As I'm sure, everyone else around here is as well.

    I think it's only natural for someone to wonder if they can make it big some day... especially in something that they have a strong passion for. Don't get me wrong...I like to dream big, but it's not like I expect to go to the Olympics either. When I think about something like this, and how far I can get in this sport, age naturally becomes a factor.

    I'm still young, but I'm getting to a point in life where I'm starting my career, getting married, etc. Once all that happens, you have less and less time to devote towards the things you love. So that means less time fencing for me I have a lot of envy for the athletes/olympians who can make it big, and are able to devote all that time towards training, etc.

    Like you said, you can have fun learning/training at any age. But as you get older, it gets harder (for the exact same reasons I listed above).

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    Senior Member RkfdFencer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phaeton View Post
    Jujie Luan is kind of a superhuman in that regard. She's still fast as hell. Still has a lot of endurance. She works hard at keeping fit, I'm sure, but there have to be some favorable genetics there.
    She also was the women's foil gold medalist back in the 80 or 84 olympics, if I recall correctly. (I think it was 1980, but it's been a while since I looked it up)

    I think that kind of edge doesn't blunt too much over time.
    My fencing philosophy = quantity over quality. Eliminate the rest periods! Fence all three weapons! 15 touches for Vet DE's!

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