Memphis, TN Junior Olympics February 12, 2010
My fencing career started when I attended Pomona College in Claremont, California in 1952. I fell into it quite by accident, due to the fact that I needed to satisfy a self-defense requirement of the school. The two other choices were wrestling (no weight-class distinction) – I weighed 80 lbs when I entered college – and boxing (ditto the no weight-class distinction). Rather than perish, I defaulted into the third-and-last choice, fencing.
I was dismal and got the first “D” ever given in the class. This so angered me that I continued and in my second semester I became the team captain. During this time I discovered the magic and thrill of being able to fix weapons. It opened a door that I had never dreamed existed. I went on to become first a division armorer and finally was chosen to be the armorer for the U.S. team for the Pan American Games in Winnipeg in 1967.
Since then I have been the armorer for the U.S. team over a period stretching to 1992. Four Olympic teams, even more Pan Am Games, many World Championships (senior, junior, cadet, veteran and wheelchair), Universiade, and I have been invited to be the head armorer at many international competitions in other countries. In 1985 I was elected to the S.E.M.I. Commission of the FIE (I believe that I was the first American ever to be elected to an FIE Commission), on which commission I have served since then, having survived several elections. I have been a competitor, a coach, an armorer and a fencing addict. My sport has given me much. I am afraid that I will die still owing.
Above Photo by Andy Shaw
Dan DeChaine in Kobe, 1985. Photo courtesy of Carl Borack