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Twenty Years later an Olympic dream comes true again!
Few people's dream of going to the Olympics comes true, even fewer people get to go twice, and you can count on one hand the number of people who qualify twice with a twenty year break in between - Igor was an athlete at the 2008 Olympics in Bejing and he was also a Bronze medalist at the Seoul Olympics in 1988.
 
The Road to Success Rules Competitions Calendar Finals Ranking LC Ranking LM
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LEAGUE OF CHAMPIONS
The Road to Success
In 1987 the German National Team was: Alexander Pusch, Volker Fischer, Arnd Schmitt, Elmar Borrmann and Thomas Gerull.

They all were or later became individual World Champions.

I was lucky to compete against these guys and to learn from them as well as from many other great fencers from many countries.
Are they all talented? Yes, to some extent. But not much more talented then you and maybe, even less. It might sound like a text book notion, but what I learned during the 30 years I spent fencing was that it is not talent that creates success. I do not think that Volker Fisher, who won his individual World Champion title at the age of 37, is more talented than the average fencer. The secret of the success for him was patience, a lot of work and practice. At the time it was quite normal for the German team to fence 40 bouts a day five times a week.
One can say that Pavel Kolobkov (the winner of the last World Championship and the best epee fencer in the world of all time) is a fencing genius and a great talent. Yes, but I saw him doing footwork exercises and drills for hours and hours far more than anyone else around him.
I myself am 42 now. Doesn't it seem unusual for a guy my age to still be capable of not only making the Canadian National Team but also achieving 17th place in the World Cup Ranking? I never considered myself a very talented fencer, but I worked hard, had a lot of practice and, with the time, acquired the skills and knowledge that I can benefit from now.

Do not be mistaken though, a lot of work doesn't always and necessary mean that one is on the road to success. One would need to be led to the right direction. Very few notable fencers never had a coach and, most certainly, none of them ever achieved top international results.

Unfortunately proper coaching and hard work is also not enough. I know a number of great coaches with proven track records of success that have failed to perform in an underdeveloped environment. By environment what is meant is a large and healthy group of athletes and coaches that works and competes together.

I believe that to become a great fencer you would need: the right environment, the right coaching, a lot of hard work and practice and, maybe, some talent.

The environment is vital for success. I believe that if you do not have enough skilled fencers to compete against on a regular basis, you will fail no matter how talented you are and how good is your coach. Off course success is relative. One who is tall, fast and spent some time practicing and money traveling will definitely make a team of some level. But we know also, that some of the greatest Canadian talents are moving somewhere to Rochester, Paris or Budapest in search of more conducive and better settings.

It is apparent that our Ontario fencing squad is still underperforming even at the Canadian level. To address this particular situation, in addition to OFA efforts in building up the fencing fellowship in Ontario and to compliment existing OFA and CFF circuits a new epee training league called the League of Champions is proposed. Epee fencers of all ages and skill levels are invited to participate.

Igor Tikhomirov
Canadian National Team member,
Former World Champion and Olympic medalist (Team USSR 1987/1988)
Oct. 12, 2005 

P.S.
And it definitely worked for me!
Igor Tikhomirov
Bronze medalist at the 2006 World Championship in Turin
Oct. 12, 2006 
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