Daryl Homer became the first American man to win an Olympic saber silver since 1904 last month in a bout that lasted mere minutes—as all fencing bouts do. If you blinked, you’d have missed the final point that broke the 14-14 tie and the decades-long medal drought. (Peter Westbrook won bronze in the 1984 games.)
If you’re the kind of casual fencing viewer who forgets about the sport for upwards of three years at a time, this wouldn’t give you much of a chance to understand—let alone appreciate—the intricacies and physical finesse. So we visited Daryl at his home gym in midtown Manhattan, where he demonstrated some core fencing concepts, as well as the flashier “flunge”—or the flying lunge.
Before suiting up, we sat down with Daryl to ask him about what makes saber different from épée or foil, how he first got interested in fencing, and the mindset that helped him win in Rio.