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NYLON: Nzingha Prescod is Changing the Face of Olympic Fencing

11/24/2015, 11:00am CST
By Keryce Chelsi Henry

As a Brooklyn girl raised alongside her older sister in a single-parent home, it would seem no small wonder that Nzingha Prescod found fencing, a sport often entrenched in the upper class. But Prescod proved a natural foilist at just nine years old when her mother enrolled her in the Peter Westbrook Foundation—an organization founded by the first African-American Olympic fencing medalist—which sponsors lessons for minorities. From there, Prescod’s goal became clear: PWF had a reputation for breeding Olympians, and she was going to become one.  

“I was always pretty good at this sport,” she says, demonstrating the characteristic humility I’ve come to know well since Prescod and I met as teens at New York City’s Stuyvesant High School. Her many accolades include winning the Cadet World Championships in 2008 and 2009, taking gold at the Junior World Championships twice, and representing the United States at the London Olympic Games before turning 20—pretty good, indeed. She placed only 22nd, however, a disappointment she attributes to a lack of confidence. “[Westbrook] said to me before I went to London, ‘You have to believe that on any given day, you can beat anyone in the world. Do you believe that?’ I was like, ‘Uhh…,’” she recalls of her reluctance at the time. Now, the memory only further motivates her to return to the Olympics in quest of a medal ... more>

Tag(s): News  Nzingha Prescod