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An Ode to the Olympic Training Partners — Vital but Often Unsung Members of the Team Behind the Team

05/30/2024, 2:15pm CDT
By Bryan Wendell

Let’s hear it for the Team USA Olympic training partners — a group of 11 selfless and talented fencers who will help prepare our Olympic team for competitive success on the strip.

Stefani Deschner (left) and Chase Emmer are two of the training partners headed to Paris this summer. (Photos by #BizziTeam)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — With a cadre that includes an armorer, team captain, squad managers and sports med providers, there’s more to an Olympic fencing team than just the athletes and coaches.

But today we’re focusing on one essential group that plays an essential but less public role in preparing our Olympic athletes for success in Paris. 

We’re talking about the Olympic training partners. While not official members of the Olympic team, this year’s group of 11 training partners will travel to Paris to support the 2024 U.S. Olympic Fencing team. The group includes a mix of up-and-coming fencers and more seasoned veterans. 

Each training partner was chosen for their abilities and willingness to always do whatever it takes for the team.

“Training partners are so important for our preparation for the Games,” says 2024 Olympic team member Jackie Dubrovich OLY. “Their selflessness and dedication doesn’t go unnoticed, and we are very lucky to have them as our teammates.”

Congratulations to this year’s training partners:

  • Women’s Epee: Tristan Szapary, Isis Washington

  • Women’s Foil*: Stefani Deschner, Katerina Lung, Zander Rhodes

  • Women’s Saber: Lola Possick, Siobhan Sullivan

  • Men’s Foil: Andrew Chen, Chase Emmer

  • Men’s Saber: Daryl Homer OLY, Grant Williams

*Women’s Foil was able to bring a third training partner thanks to the generous support of a U.S. Fencing Foundation donor. (Make a gift to support current and future Olympians and Paralympians.)

While they get to enjoy and learn from the experience of seeing an Olympic Games in person, these training partners aren’t there to merely cheer on Team USA.

“Training partners need to be the ultimate team players,” says Kate Reisinger, USA Fencing’s Chief of Sport Performance. “They must be willing to put in work and bring a ton of energy to help their teammates get through the final preparation period. It's a tough role to play, and I can't thank them enough for their dedication to the team!”

Reisinger says it’s also a great way to prepare the next group of Olympians by exposing them to the Olympic environment. Sure enough, 2024 Olympic team members Margherita Guzzi Vincenti, Elizabeth Tartakovsky and Maia Weintraub were training partners for the 2020 Games in Tokyo.

With their focus on team before self, training partners can prepare Team USA for success on the strip — and even try to simulate some of the behaviors of opponents that Team USA fencers will see in competition. So when you cheer on Team USA this summer, be sure to remember those fencers who worked behind the scenes to get our Olympians ready for the sport’s biggest stage.

Tag(s): Updates  Paris 2024