Dan DeChaine, photo by Andy Shaw

DeChaine, Dan

Dan DeChaine

Dan DeChaine and Andy Shaw, Interview for the US Fencing Hall of Fame.
Memphis, TN Junior Olympics February 12, 2010

Dan DeChaine, photo by Andy ShawMy 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