Zorro was a big inspiration for both Tim Morehouse and Daryl Homer.
The two members of the U.S. men’s Olympic saber team admitted that the image of the swashbuckler played no small roll in their decision to take up the sport.
“Fencing has given me a lot of confidence,” said Tim Morehouse, a member of the 2008 men’s silver medal winning Olympic saber team and who comes from a longtime Riverdale family. “I struggled in school a lot. When I found my confidence as a fencer it translated into my life.”
Morehouse felt a good deal of both swagger and gratitude this past week in the wake of the success of Fencing Masters: Kickoff to London 2012, held at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan, on June 26.
He gathered 13 of the 16 members of the U.S. Olympic team, as well as select fencers from other counties around the world for a competition and fund raiser.
The audience gasped and cheered as the world class fencers thrust and parried their foils, épées and sabers — weapon’s of the sport’s three events — at the nearly three-hour event.
Dancing like prizefighters in their chartreuse fencing shoes, the athletes pumped their fists, grunting and yelping as they scored points with silver blades that intoned the sound of a metal factory one moment and church chimes the next.
The live competition dramatically illustrated what Morehouse and other fencers have long- considered the unappreciated athleticism and drama of the sport.
Unlike the first Fencing Masters, this year’s event offered such perks as large-screen instant replays, as well as a stage conceived by a Broadway set designer, featuring a pair of 50-foot tall sabers crossed in combat.
The competition before a full house of about 1,800 spectators raised $30,000 to be split between supporting Olympic fencing and a program called Fencing-in-the-Schools, a non-profit foundation dedicated to “bringing the sport of fencing to under-served communities throughout the country,” according to Morehouse’s biography.