Athletes

Richard Kruse! The only fencer I let stain my walls.

There are few people in the fencing world who do not know who Richard Kruse is, representing Great Britain in the men’s foil Olympics. One of the most notable qualities of this man is his dedication to training. I have met few people who work as hard and as consistently as Richard, and the work seems to pay off.

When I get into work at 8AM (not 10), we often see the more dedicated fencers already beginning their warmups and practice drills. Among them is always Richard.

“Surprised to see you here so early.” – I would always say.

We always joke about his training effects his luck, and his response is always

“The more I train the luckier I seem to get”. Kruse

For me this pretty much sums up Richard's attitude to training, many people may think how lucky he is to have been to all these Olympics, but in truth its hard work and buckets of sweat.

However Richard does have at least one personality flaw – He’s forever staining my walls! Now I don’t know what some of you were thinking when you started reading this but I meant with his dirty socks while stretching down after training.

Sock stains from Richard Kruse Sock stains from Richard Kruse

Our lovely million pound fencing centre bears the marks of its abuse; there is a fantastic stain on the wall, courtesy of Richard Kruse.

At least he gave me the inspiration required to make the colours of socks we have available today, my intention was to give several pairs to Richard and have him make a rainbow masterpiece on the fencing centre wall.

One of Richard's other notable qualities is the level of humility he has in all things, as a sponsored fencer of Leon Paul, he is able to request at his leisure as much kit as he feel he needs, (and that I think he deserves). However, despite having this freedom that most people would capitalise upon as much as possible, he always only ever asks for kit he actually needs, and before replacing kit he already has, he always tries to repair it first.

I heard a similar story from Yuki Ota, the Japanese foil fencer. I went to a seminar of his in London in 2012 and my notes from my phone are below.

Ota notes from Ben Paul's Iphone The notes on my phone from 2013

Ota speach notes Ota speech in London

As you can see from the picture, I’m not much of a note taker but I was utterly intrigued by his story. He initially started fencing to get a games console from his dad. I can only imagine it was a clever attempt at getting his son to do a sport. As fate would have it, he enjoyed fencing so much that he forgot about his games console, gave it to his brother, and never looked back.

He then put so much time and effort into his passion that he eventually won an Olympic medal. What greater return for your effort than to have it ratified by the Olympic stage.

There are many things that make an Olympian, especially an Olympic fencer. My experience being around these amazing people my whole life, is that the most important thing that any one of these people have, is a level of dedication that is in itself, Olympic.

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