Dershwitz, Hurley and the Women’s Foil team sweep Team USA Award’s Best of July honors

The heroics of American fencers Eli Dershwitz, Courtney Hurley and the Women’s foil team at the recently completed World Championships in China have earned them top honors at the Team USA Awards Best of July.

Courtney Hurley has been named the Team USA Awards Female Athlete of the Month for July after she became the first U.S fencer in history to win an individual world championship medal in the epee with bronze, before backing that up with gold in the team event, also a first world championship medal of any kind for an American women’s epee team. Having had what she described as a ‘rough year’, the 27-year-old ended it in style, and won the award with 41 percent* of the vote.

“It’s been a long rough year that ended so ‘friggan amazingly!” she said on her Instagram account prior to the announcement. “A roller coaster of emotions all year and my body/mind need a long vacation!”

Other nominees for the Best of July award included tennis legend Serena Williams and Rio Olympic silver medallist, backstroke swimmer Kathleen Baker.

Notably, Courtney’s twin sister and epee teammate Kelley announced on her own account that the pair would soon be moving to Paris in September to begin their preparation for Tokyo 2020.

“Some exciting news to finally share! Some of you already know, but @thishurleygurrl and I are moving to Paris! More specifically we will be training with @levavasseurdaniel in St. Maur. We decided we wanted a fun and good change to perhaps make our final push to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020!”

Daniel Levavasseur is a French fencing master specializing in epee that has coached nine athletes and teams to Olympic gold over a glittering coaching career that began with the French junior team in 1981. He currently serves as the head coach of the Chinese national epee team and personal coach to 2012 Olympic team gold medalist Sun Yujie.
Eli Dershwitz was named Male Athlete of the Month after he won his first ever world championship medal, the silver in the men’s saber, which capped a remarkable season for the 22-year-old. At it’s conclusion he had secured the world number one ranking, the silver medal and the overall World Cup title (the first US men’s sabre fencer to do so), as well as his second straight NCAA title back in March.

Others nominated in his category were track and field athlete Noah Lyles and tennis player John Isner, who reached this year’s Wimbledon semifinals.

The Team of the Month went to the Women’s Foil team, who won the United States first-ever world championship gold in the event – male or female. Upsetting reigning Olympic and World Champion Italy in the final, the team of Lee Kiefer, Nzingha Prescod, Nicole Ross and Margaret Lu came away with a 10-point margin win to take the award with 49% of the vote from the US Women’s Volleyball team and the Mixed Triathlon Relay team.

The Team USA Awards are given out each month in recognition of outstanding performance in the field of sport. Each National Governing Body nominates one female, one male and one team per discipline. An internal committee selects five nominees from both individual categories and three teams. Votes are received from the NGB representatives and select members of the media to account for 50 percent of the final tally, with the other 50 percent determined by online voting by members of the public.

International fencing community celebrates World Fencing Day

Saturday September 8th was the International Fencing Federation’s 2nd annual World Fencing Day, with many of the sports top stars expressing their love for fencing online.

Only established in 2017, World Fencing Day is intended as an opportunity to grow the sport by sharing its physical and mental health benefits with children, communities and schools.

All over the world on Saturday fencing clubs opened their doors and encouraged anyone and everyone to enjoy a first, free lesson on one of the oldest and most exciting sports in the world. With the hash tag #SportForAll as this years theme, the FIE encouraged all of its 153 member countries to get behind the movement and increase the level of access to fencing for young people worldwide.

Aside from encouraging public displays of fencing, the FIE posted a number of videos to its instagram account @fencing_fie showcasing some of the sports established stars as well as its up-and-comers.