When the Summer Olympics start Aug. 8 in Beijing, 2002 Westminster Schools graduate Sada Jacobson will be ready to face off with the best fencers in the world.
The 25-year-old Sandy Springs resident is making her second Olympic appearance; she won a bronze medal in individual saber fencing in the 2004 Athens Olympics. She trained at Nellya Fencers in Atlanta under coach Arkady Burdan, a former Soviet Olympic coach, and fenced at Yale University.
Jacobson comes from a family of fencers. One sister, Emily, also participated in the Athens Olympics, and youngest sister Jackie also has competed in the world championships. Their father, David, was a member of the 1974 national saber team.
David attributed Sada’s success to a combination of “good luck, good timing and hard work.”
“She had access to superb coaching,” he said. “When she gets interested in something, she commits herself fully to it. She’s smart, which is an advantage in this sport, and she’s an extremely hard worker.”
Her mother, Tina, said she has spent a lot of time on the road with her daughters through fencing.
“To do high-level competition requires a lot of traveling. The girls started traveling all over the world when they were in early high school, so I travel with them. I’m not sure I’d call it a sacrifice; we had terrific fun in seeing places,” she said. “The Olympics are very special because of the fact that you go and you’re representing the United States. It feels really good.”
Sada traveled to Beijing in late July and was not available for comment. She said in a news release that she fences because “it’s very athletic but also so intellectual. There’s always something different to learn.”
She could be one of the first Americans to win a medal in Beijing. Her event, the women’s individual saber, begins Aug. 8 at 10 p.m. EDT with 64 fencers. The gold medal match is scheduled for the next morning at 8:10.