>>RACE IMBODEN: I’m Race Imboden and I’m
going to the 2012 London Olympics.>>JED DUPREE: Race is extraordinary for how
young and how consistent he is and how much success he has experienced.
>>BILL IMBODEN: His competitors are all ten years older than he is.>>JED DUPREE: I’ve been coaching Race for
five years. I think from a very early age you could see when he was holding his foil
that he was very confident and that he really wasn’t intimidated by people who had more
experience.>>RACE IMBODEN: I’m number one in the country
and I’m number four in the world.>>RACE IMBODEN: When you look at the best
athletes in the world, usually they have something that drives them. They have a chip on their
shoulder and I think for me that was just from the get-go, in my sport, I wasn’t the
average fencer. I wasn’t clean cut, I had long hair.
>>FIONA IMBODEN: I still think he likes to see himself as the underdog and have something
to prove.>>RACE IMBODEN: Fencing, I always say, is
the physical chess. It’s a complete balance between physical work and mental work. I had
one of the worse mental psyches on this strip.>>BILL IMBODEN: Race had a terrible time
as a youth fencer. He knew what he wanted to do and sometimes couldn’t make it happen
technically or things didn’t go his way. I mean, many bouts ended in tears even when
he won.>>JED DUPREE: The real difference between
what makes a good fencer and a world class fencer is how they’re able to control their
emotions.>>RACE IMBODEN: Jed taught me that you can
use and alter your emotions to help you.>>FIONA IMBODEN: Race seems to have a more
calm presence now. He doesn’t have to go crazy.>>JED DUPREE: Fencing is a combat sport and
different from other combat sports,>>JED DUPREE: you’re touching each other,
but you’re touching each other and within one touch you have to be able the change how
you did it last time.>>JED DUPREE: In electric fencing the target
area where you can touch the other person is that metal vest that they’re wearing. When
they touch that, there will be a colored light that goes on, whether you’re on the right
or the left side.>>RACE IMBODEN: The intensity in fencing
is such a high level. You have to be able to trick the person basically over and over
again in order to get touches and will the battle. So it’s like your mind is constantly
running, constantly running, constantly running trying to trick the person. I could be the
fastest guy in the world but if you have something that’s tactically smarter than I do, you could
beat me. And that’s difficult.>>RACE IMBODEN: Growing up, all my competitors
were from families with better means than I had. Fencing is not cheap, the equipment
is expensive, the travel you’re paying for yourself.
>>BILL IMBODEN: The challenge was, basically, being able to afford tickets, hotel rooms,
and rental cars.>>RACE IMBODEN: My mother started working
again after she hadn’t worked for a decade, and my father was working extra shifts and
everybody was trying to chip in to help me achieve my goals.
>>BILL IMBODEN: As soon as he could we started to try to teach him how to be self-sufficient.
We would arrive at an airport and we would send Race ahead and let him check himself
in.>>RACE IMBODEN: I actually went to my first
competition alone when I was fourteen. That meant me growing up really quickly.
>>FIONA IMBODEN: But in the hindsight it didn’t stop him. I think it fired him up,
actually, more than it stopped him.>>BILL IMBODEN: We’ve never seen Race fence
internationally. The very first time that we’ll be able to do that will be at the Olympic
Games.>>RACE IMBODEN: I’m sure there will be some
tears shed and my mom is a crier.>>FIONA IMBODEN: It’s very emotional.
>>JED DUPREE: Race’s greatest strength at the Olympics is that he lives for big stages.
You can say that you want to go to the O lympics but when that day comes, you know deep down
inside if this is an opportunity to make a mistake or if this is an opportunity for something
amazing to happen and I think he sees it as something amazing potentially can happen.
>>RACE IMBODEN: The biggest thing about the Olympics is that there is nothing else like
it. I want to just have my body ready, be mentally ready and just be ready to fence.
When I do well and I see my flag raised there’s nothing else, nothing beats that.