Fencer:

Brendan Cusack

Club:

Empire United

Event:

Men’s Foil

Latest result:

89th, Havana Grand Prix


Tell us about how you started fencing.
My Father and I found out there was a foil fencing club near my house. Although I played soccer and other sports at school and in local leagues, I liked the idea of one-to-one competition. I decided to try it out when I was eleven years old and haven’t stopped since.

At what point did your fencing change from a hobby to a serious sport?
After a year or so of taking classes every weekend, I entered my first event at a local school. It was open to foilists of all ages and my first poule bout was against a 40-year old coach. I managed to beat him easily, and although I later lost my first DE, I was hooked. I started to going to tournaments nearly every weekend, where I learned that disappointment is something that every fencer must overcome on a regular basis. I started competing at the national level and looking for greater exposure against the best foilists in the country. I was proud to get my first start for Ireland at age seventeen, at an FIE Junior World Cup event in Canada, where I finished 6th to get my international career off to a fast start.

Can you tell us about your best result or proudest fencing achievement?
I’ve had a few results that have really motivated me, including a Top 16 at the Senior European Championships, 3rd in France U-20 World Cup, making Top 64 at the Senior World Championship, beating the world #4 in a Junior World Championship DE, and reaching the Top 20 in the U-20 world rankings, as well as winning the Irish Open Championship.

How are you preparing for the zonal qualifier?
I try to maintain a consistent approach to my training regime throughout the season. Being based in the United States means I have to travel to Europe and Asia a lot, which means having to adapt to jet lag and different types of food. I competed in nine international events in the early part of this season and I picked up some injuries on the way. My goal was to ensure that I recovered from these without losing my competitive edge. Lately I’ve focused on more sport specific mental training, athletic/working out gym training, and fencing at a very competitive New York area club up to five days a week.

What are your ambitions for season ahead?
I hope to continue to grow as an international fencer, medaling at a World Cup, Grand Prix, and/or Championship event and joining the ranks of the Top 30 fencers in the world.

What is your long-term sporting goal?
I would like to continuously improve my skills and attempt to establish a more athletic approach to fencing. With no less than ten foilists in the Top 100 world rankings at the European Zonal Qualifier and only one place at Rio up for grabs, I know that this will be a difficult challenge. Whatever the outcome, I would like to aim high and medal at the Olympic Games – whether in Rio or Tokyo 2020.

What would be your message to young athletes looking towards 2024 or beyond?
Train smart and hard, be consistent, gain exposure to high-level competition whenever possible, find a coach that sees your potential and communicates well, learn to deal with adversity, bounce back from disappointment, and think outside the box