PORTLAND - It’s early morning at the Oregon Fencing Alliance in Portland and Fencer Mariel Zagunis is right where she wants to be - training for the Olympics.
Zagunis, of Beaverton, is the number one ranked women’s sabre fencer in the world.
She’s two-time Olympic Champion and a favorite to win gold again this summer in the London games, yet she still has the drive to get even better.
PHOTOS: Muriel Zagunis in Action
“I’ve been getting asked that question a lot lately,” says Zagunis, “What keeps motivating you? Like, you’ve won everything there is to win, but why should I stop? I love what I’m doing and it’s great and I’m enjoying it and I just love Fencing and winning. So, I’m just going to keep winning.”
In fact, Mariel did just that in the season opener, claiming a title in France earlier this month. “It’s really nice to be able to go over there and have everything come together as it’s supposed to and win,” says Zagunis, “and end the day on the number one podium. There’s nothing like it, there’s nothing like the feeling of winning.”
Mariel, who turns 27 next month, crisscrosses the Atlantic for competitions overseas and training at home with U.S. Women’s Fencing Coach Ed Korfanty.
“There’s always something you can change or improve upon,” says Zagunis. “You have to be ahead of the curve and working with Ed, that’s something we can do by working with each other every single day.
“The most important thing is how to surprise,” says Korfanty. “How to get advantage in the bout, psychological advantage and beat your opponent.”
In Athens in 2004, Mariel was the first American to win Olympic gold in fencing in more than 100 years. She won again in Beijing in 2008. London is now just a few months away.
“From here on out really it’s just like a long sprint of a marathon until the Olympic Games,” says Zagunis. “Things are going really well and I’m feeling great and I feel ready and I’m ready to show up in London and claim my third Gold.”