Junior fencer Miles Chamley-Watson grew up playing basketball and soccer, when one day he decided to try fencing.
“Someone suggested I try it and so I did,” he said.
Now he is the No. 1 fencer in the United States and the No. 3 fencer in the world.
A London native, Miles moved to New York when he was 9 years old. He started fencing a year later and hasn’t stopped since.
During school he would practice with the basketball and soccer team, but he did not fence with his high school. He joined a fencing club, so after practice for his other sports at school he would go train with his fencing coach.
When he was 16 years old he moved to Philadelphia and graduated high school in 2008.
Since Chamley-Watson arrived at Penn State two years ago, he’s already earned All-American honors twice and the team has taken home two national championships.
His career has already taken him to many different places and he has already achieved success at some of the highest levels in his sport.
Among his favorite career exploits was his trip to Paris for the World Championships in January. He placed third in the Grand Prix competition in Russia during the summer. He came in fifth in the Senior World Cup Championships last fall.
After this weekend he will put his college fencing career on hold and go back to New York.
He will spend a year and a half training to compete in the 2012 Olympics in an area very familiar to him, London. Having accomplished all he has almost guarantees him a spot to compete in the Olympics.
“I need to train in the best possible surrounding,” Chamley-Watson said.
He said he will miss his friends, but will come back to visit.
Team captain Doris Willette, who will be graduating this spring, said the team will still be strong while he is not here, but the dynamic will change and it will be a struggle to replace such a strong fencer.
“He has such a great work ethic and a very hard worker and he believes he is the best,” Willette said. “And that is something good to have because when you are competing everyone else thinks they are the best too.”
Freshman Nicole Glon said Chamley-Watson works really hard at practice and during bouts, and he always knows how to make the team laugh.
He will come back the following year to finish his senior season. However, he isn’t sure what he will do after graduation.
“It all depends on how I’m doing,” Chamley-Watson said.