• Hope Bowden Fencing

    Hope Bowden, right, fences with Conall Gouveia of Medway in preparation for the Junior Olympic Fencing Championship in Denver Feb. 15-18.


    Fencing Draws GSA Student to Junior Olympics

    What started as an “oh, cool, learn sword-fighting type of thing” has turned into a competitive sport for a sophomore at George Stevens Academy.

         Hope Bowden of Orland, who studies fencing with John Krauss of the Down East School of Fencing in Verona, will compete in the Junior Olympic Fencing Championship, set for Feb. 15-18 in Denver.

         Bowden started fencing in fifth-grade, and though it is still interesting and fun for her, she has picked up a lot about timing and strategy, as well as learning that she prefers saber, one of three fencing disciplines. The others are foil and epee.

         The weapons differ, as do the targets and approaches to the sport. Saber involves more slashing and is more aggressive, according the U.S. Olympic Committee website, and it’s faster, said Bowden.

         You use the side of the blade, not the tip, she said, where foil and epee are slower, and you “stand around and poke at people now and then.”

         That’s how a fight scene in “The Princess Bride” started, with “a little bit of foil, then they started cutting at each other, like saber, too,” Bowden said, noting that what we see on screen doesn’t always present fencing accurately.

         Bowden will compete in the Junior Women’s Saber event on Saturday and the Cadet Women’s Saber event on Monday, according to the Junior Olympic Fencing website, and she just hopes to “learn from the experience,” Bowden said.

         Two other students from the Down East School of Fencing also are expected to compete in Denver: Lily Millard of Old Town in Cadet Women’s Foil and Cadet Women’s Epee, and Ian Bowden, Hope Bowden’s younger brother, in Cadet Men’s Epee.

         Bowden would like to start club fencing at GSA if there is enough student interest and she can find an advisor.