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Fencing: the 'gentleman's sport' (4 photos)

Teen pursues passion for fencing over more traditional disciplines

If medals were awarded simply for keeping calm while under pressure, Nolan White-Roy would already have gold.

After all, not everyone is cool with having a blade thrust at them.

“You get used to having swords getting thrown around in your face,” said White-Roy, a 14-year-old fencer from Stratford, though he acknowledged “it can get a little bit daunting.”

That might seem like an understatement to some, but the teen has experience.

When he was nine, White-Roy took part in a variety of sports, including hockey and swimming, but fencing is the one that stuck.

“I just ended up enjoying fencing most because it was mentally stimulating and physically stimulating,” he said Friday following a match at Orillia Secondary School during the Ontario Winter Games.

Rather than be concerned about White-Roy’s choice of sport, his parents “were thrilled,” said his mom, Julie White.

“Nolan saw an opportunity in a sport that is not mainstream,” she said. “We realized it was a really good fit with his personality.”

Fencing is “a gentleman’s sport,” she added. “It has a lot of integrity.”

It also doesn't hurt that her son is coached by two-time Olympic fencer Josh McGuire, who made it to the world stage in 2004 and 2008..

Fencing is often referred to as physical chess, and White-Roy has no intention of playing the pawn.

“You might be bigger, but if your technical elements aren’t as good as mine, you’re going to lose,” he said.

While he was at ease on the strip, he did give the ref a bit of flak for a decision White-Roy thought was wrong.

“Fencing is a subjective sport and everything happens in a split second,” he said. “That’s what makes the sport so great and also frustrating.”

While White-Roy sits in second in the Canadian domestic rankings for under-15 fencing, this is his first appearance at the Ontario Winter Games.

“It’s pretty cool,” he said. “I’ve been prepping for this for a while.”

It gives him the motivation to aim even higher.

“I’d like to be on Team Canada’s cadet national team next year. Ultimately, I’d like to go to the Olympics.”

Fencing competition continues Saturday and Sunday at Orillia Secondary School.


Nathan Taylor

About the Author: Nathan Taylor

Nathan Taylor is an experienced multimedia journalist and editor who covers Orillia and other parts of Simcoe County.
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