Fencer Sophie Liu gets first in Junior Olympics


Photo courtesy Maggie Wang

Sophomore Sophie Liu challenges her opponent over Presidents Day weekend at the Cadet Women’s Saber in Junior Olympics in Denver, Colorado. Liu said fencing, “has brought me so many amazing opportunities and taught me so much about being strong and perseverance.”

The clash of sabers grabs your attention. You watch two players glide back and forth, fighting for the touch that ends the bout. Each player is as skilled as the other, working just as hard to emerge as champion. One final jab ends it all with the touch of the sword. The fencer who won it all: sophomore Sophie Liu.

Liu dominated the Junior Olympics in Cadet Women’s Saber in Denver, CO, over President’s Day weekend, bringing home gold and another fencing memory.

At the Cadet Women’s Saber, Liu had many bouts and, although they weren’t her best at first, she ultimately won gold. “It was a surreal experience, especially because I wasn’t performing to the best of my abilities earlier that day. A lot of the bouts I fenced later in the day were pretty close, so having that adrenaline rushing through me was really an exciting feeling,” Liu said.

Along with her win, Liu gets to participate in the Junior and Cadet Fencing World Championships later in April. “It feels really amazing considering that it is my first year in cadet and a year ago I was in a completely different position. Knowing that my work has paid off and I’m able to experience this opportunity at such a young age is something I’m very proud of,” Liu said.

Fencing holds a special place in Liu’s heart. She has been doing it for a long time and traveling to compete for years. “Ever since a young age, I’ve been really introverted and reserved. Fencing has brought out that part of me that I’ve always had a hard time expressing. Through the sport, I’ve met some of the most important people in my life, traveled to amazing places, and learned great life lessons,” Liu said.

Liu’s teachers say they find what she does impressive. Her counselor has been a great help with making sure she can balance school and fencing. “Accomplishment, passion, drive, interest, perseverance and dedication are all qualities students have and Sophie embodies all of this and more as she continues representing herself, her family and our community,” counselor Jennifer Huang-Utter said

Liu’s friends are also incredibly proud of her and her fencing accomplishments. “I think it’s very impressive and cool that she is able to make it so far in fencing while still only being in 10th grade. I’m very proud of her,” sophomore Maddie Zinki said.

Despite the rush of experience and the opportunities Liu gets, she still has to balance her school life alongside her fencing. She travels domestically once a month from November through February, and internationally twice a month, but her teachers are nothing but supportive. “Honestly, it can be really difficult at times, but I usually try to get as much work done in class or at school when I have free time. When I miss school to travel for fencing, my teachers are extremely helpful with adapting to my circumstances, and that really helps with keeping my grades up,” Liu said

Regardless of the difficulty balancing school and her fencing, Liu doesn’t regret doing what she does. “It has brought me so many amazing opportunities and taught me so much about being strong and perseverance,” Liu said.