PORTLAND - With just over three months until the Olympic games begin, two time gold medalist Mariel Zagunis is making regular visits to a physical therapist.
“It’s about prevention. That’s what brings me here,” said Zagunis just before a work out at the Providence Sports Care Center at Jeld Wen Field.
She started physical therapy sessions eight years ago when she first won gold in fencing.
Photos: Olympic fencer Mariel Zagunis
“They find little places where you’re weak or your sore and they explain why. Eventually you realize everything is connected,” Zagunis explained.
She’s been fencing since the age of 10 and the sport puts her at risk of knee, ankle and elbow injuries.
"It’s a lot of movement back and forth with the feet. There are so many quick movements and explosive lunges.”
Zagunis says the sport has made one side of her body stronger than the other. It’s something physical therapist Eric Marchek keeps in mind.
“I have her work with a video game where she’s connected and the movement from her arms controls what’s happening on the screen. She’s building the mind body connection.” Zagunis supplements her fencing work out with regular runs of three to four miles.
When she’s not training for the Olympics or her regular season, she also enjoys Zumba.
“It’s so much fun and you don’t even notice you’re working and getting your heart rate up,” she said with a smile.
It will be awhile before Mariel returns to Zumba class. She has five tournaments in the coming weeks.
At the age of 27, she’s mindful of keeping up with physical therapy and knows if might help determine if she returns to the podium.
“I can’t believe London will be my third Olympics and I’ve already decided I’m going for number four. After that we’ll see.”