Penn State

4 Penn State alumni seeking fencing gold in Rio

Editor’s note: This is the final installment in a Road to Rio series on Penn State-connected athletes who are training for this summer’s Olympics.

When the Summer Olympic fencing competition begins in August in Rio de Janeiro, four former Nittany Lions will be seeking gold.

Katarzyna Trzopek, Monica Aksamit and Miles Chamley-Watson will compete for the United States. Daniel Gomez-Tanamachi will compete for Mexico.

In Olympic fencing three weapons are used. The epee is the longest, heaviest blade; the foil is a shorter, lighter blade; and the saber is the shortest, lightest blade. All three weapon events will include a former Lion.

Trzopek graduated from Penn State in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy. She was a collegiate epee national champion in 2003 and 2006. She is ranked No. 137 in the world and will compete in epee in her first Olympic Games. Trzopek lives and trains in Pacifica, Calif.

Aksamit will also make her first Olympic appearance. Aksamit graduated from Penn State in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in biology. She was a three-time All-American and collegiate saber national champion runner-up in 2012. She is ranked No. 78 in the world and will compete in saber. She lives in Matawan, N.J., and trains in New York City.

Chamley-Watson graduated from Penn State in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in sports management. He earned NCAA Freshman of the Year honors and All-American recognition, and was the collegiate foil national championship runner-up in 2011. He made the U.S. Olympic team in 2012 and competed in London but was eliminated in the second round. He is ranked No. 10 in the world and will compete in foil. He lives and trains in New York City.

Gomez-Tanamachi graduated from Penn State in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. He was a member of the Nittany Lions’ 2010 national championship team and was an Academic All-American in 2013. He was on the Mexican national team in 2012 and competed in foil in London, where he was eliminated in the second round. He is ranked No. 81 in the world and will compete in foil. He lives and trains in Mexico City.

The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro begin Aug. 5.

Leon Valsechi is a Penn State journalism student.

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