Yep, I got to hold the medal. (And it was more of a kick than I expected it to be!)

If you read my blog post on the Coupe de Monde of Fencing last week, you’ll understand why I’m posting the piece (link below) by Tim Morehouse. Tim is the #1 ranked men’s sabre fencer in the U.S. (14th world, I believe), two-time Olympian, and Olympic Silver Medalist (2008 Beijing, Team). His determination to open the floodgates of interest in the sport through increased public participation and branded corporate sponsorship is something I’ve been watching for about 3 years; and, it is unwavering.

Admittedly, with many years in luxury brand management, I’ve tried to do my part for the cause by alerting several of my luxebrand exec-friends to Tim’s cause – passively beating them over the head with “Hey! Watch Tim! Just sayin’…”, but budgets have been slashed. Empathetic to the difficult measures many have needed to consider during these tough economic times – laying-off several quality members of their respective teams, I’ve merely attempted to keep Tim on their radar. Even my most senior friends (EVP/SVP) are required to justify anything beyond their standard placement of marketing dollars.  IF sponsorship has been fit into the [marketing] mix, it’s mostly for the big events — like the Veuve Cliquot Polo Classic (Prince Harry offered a TON of press, of course).  I dig the situation on both sides. My goal has simply been to plant some seeds. You never know when budgets may be shifted to “try something new.” While the luxury market remains soft, recent reports are showing signs of optimism.

The dip in the luxury manufacturing was the opportunity that prompted me to shift my focus/place under the branding umbrella, moving from management + execution to brand conception, platform development + strategy. Literally, as I stepped out of the luxury scene, Tim arrived.

My part 2 of 2 blog post will go a little further into how Tim’s journey has evolved; and why, as a brand and marketing professional, it caught my attention.

Please visit Tim’s (prolific) blog to read his take:

Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic 2010: The Sport of Polo Continues to Outshine Fencing (For No Good Reason!)

Advertisements

This post is NOT about fencing…per se.  It is about opportunity, marketing + promotion, branding, shifting paradigms, self-promotion, ambassadorship, achievement, influence, sacrifice, and a little philanthropy. Oh, and an elite fraternity of (rather handsome) men and (beautiful, kick-ass) women.

Last weekend, the Coupe du Monde (World Cup) of Fencing was held in New York City; Brooklyn, to be exact.  I wasn’t able to attend the entire weekend-long event, but I was able to spend several hours on Saturday watching the Men’s Sabre Finals and the Women’s Direct Elimination (DE) Sabre bouts. For me, it was an incredible opportunity to see the top sabre fencers from around the world compete in my backyard.

Steve Mormando (my coach), Dagmara Wozniak (seated) + Daria Schneider (on strip)

While I have only been fencing for a few years, I have been blessed to hold incredible proximity and association to these world-class athletes whom I respect and admire, and whose influence and mentorship inspire my journey in ways that they are largely unaware. Peter Westbrook, Steve Mormando (my coach), Tim Morehouse, Jason Rogers, Keeth and Erinn Smart, Dagmara (“Daga”) Wozniak, Daria Schneider and Mariel Zagunis have all touched my life in some way.  The privilege to watch them perform in this hemisphere and on this side of Greenwich Mean Time was a rarity and a treat.

But as I said, this post isn’t about fencing…really.

Opportunity is knocking down the damn door. Can somebody please answer it?

I have been to my share of fencing tournaments. For a sport that triggers association with attributes like chivalry and elegance, the reality of the event, itself, is decidedly neither of these. When en garde is demanded by a referee at the commencement of a bout, indeed, chivalry and elegance serve as the standard to which all most fencers engage their opponent. But most tournaments are unglamorous, sweaty, hurry-up-and-wait, eat-when-you-can, multiple day happenings. I don’t know why, but I expected to see at least some level of elevation at this event. Read the rest of this entry »

FENCING BASICS: A wonderful overview of everything from the equipment and environment of fencing to a breakdown of the rules and techniques from two-time Olympic Gold Medalist (2004/2008) Mariel Zagunis.

Many of you have been curious about fencing, but find it overwhelming. Some of you have even been so brave to try it! Bravo! I’ve fallen in love with it, and occasionally put some of these videos up to help those of you who are curious to understand the sport better.

I agree, it is a complicated sport. Imagine jumping in as a newbie at the National level of competition! Even completely immersed and supported by my wonderfully empathetic teammates, I was lost for the first year. One of the major barriers to the sport is a lack of information afforded to the interested adult participant or spectator.

Most competitive fencers start fencing between 8-14 years of age. Learning is layered over time. The opportunity to advance the sport is really in the 26-45 age group. Adults learn differently than kids, but most fencing clubs (and arguably the fencing community, as a whole) remain kid-centric.

Enjoy!