Personal Information

Family Partner Race Imboden

Occupation Athlete

Languages English, French

Higher education Economics - University Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne: France

License number 22081991001


World Cup2-810
Cancun (MEXICO), 2015-10-16Budapest (HUNGARY), 2013-02-08
Alger (ALGERIA), 2017-01-13St-Petersbourg (RUSSIA), 2013-03-01
Shanghai (CHINA), 2014-05-02
Gdansk (POLAND), 2015-01-16
St-Maur (FRANCE), 2019-01-25
Tauberbischofsheim (GERMANY), 2019-05-03
Le Caire (EGYPT), 2019-11-22
Katowice (POLAND), 2020-01-10
World Championship-112
Wuxi (CHINA), 2018-07-20Leipzig (GERMANY), 2017-07-19
Zone Championships--33
Zagreb (CROATIA), 2013-06-16
Tbilisi (GEORGIA), 2017-06-13
Düsseldorf (GERMANY), 2019-06-18
Grand Prix1-45
Turin (ITALY), 2020-02-07La Havane (CUBA), 2015-03-13
Shanghai (CHINA), 2016-06-03
Shanghai (CHINA), 2017-05-19
Doha (QATAR), 2021-03-26

Sport Specific Information

When and where did you begin this sport? She began fencing at age seven in Guadeloupe. She moved to mainland France to join the national youth training hub [Pole Espoir] in Aix-en-Provence at age 17, and a year later she joined the national team training base at the National Institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance [INSEP] in Paris.

Why this sport? "My mother took my brother and me to discover fencing. At the time, I was doing classical dance. I was truly a little princess. Initially, this introduction to the sport was intended more for my brother. It turned out I liked it straight away, and I quickly got a taste for competition. It became an addiction. Making a hit, defeating my opponent, I was no longer a ballerina but a fighter. In Guadeloupe, I got to a point where there was no more opposition, so I had to leave [for mainland France], to keep growing as a fencer. The federation put a little pressure on me on the subject. They said, 'If you do not take the step to come to France, you are putting your career in danger'. I wanted to be the best, so I left when I was 17. I had no family in mainland France."

Club / Team Bourg-la-Reine 92: France

Name of coach Emeric Clos [national], FRA; Stefano Cerioni [personal], ITA

Training Regime She divides her time between training camps with the national team in Paris, France, the United States of America where her partner lives, and Italy where her personal coach is based.

Handedness Right

General Interest

Nicknames Ysa (ouest-frace.fr, 09 Jan 2019)

Memorable sporting achievement Winning an individual silver medal at the 2018 World Championships in Wuxi, People's Republic of China. (sport24.lefigaro.fr, 28 Dec 2018)

Hero / Idol French fencer Laura Flessel-Colovic. (franceantilles.fr, 25 Jun 2013)

Injuries She injured her hamstring during the 2015 Montreaux Masters in Switzerland. (lequipe.fr, 08 Jun 2015)

Sporting philosophy / motto "Work hard and dream big." (Twitter profile, 28 Mar 2016)

Awards and honours In 2013 she was presented with the Bernard Destremau Award by the Institute of France. The honour was in recognition of the way she had balanced her studies alongside her career as an elite athlete. (escpeurope.eu, 21 Nov 2013)

Famous relatives Her partner Race Imboden has represented the United States of America in fencing, and won gold in team foil at the 2019 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. (Instagram profile, 12 Jan 2021; SportsDeskOnline, 01 Apr 2021)

Ambitions To win gold at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. (lequipe.fr, 28 Nov 2018)

Other information FENCING COUPLE
She met her partner, US fencer Race Imboden, at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. "If he offers me advice, I am always ready to listen. After all he is world number one [May 2019] so I imagine his advice is not bad. In general we make a good couple, in sport and in life." (Instagram profile, 12 Jan 2021; rtl.fr, 09 May 2019)

After finishing fifth in the individual foil event at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, she changed her approach to the sport, leaving her training base with the national federation in Paris, France to relocate to Los Angeles, CA, United States of America. She divides her time between Los Angeles, Italy and France and has taken an independent approach to her training. "My defeat in the quarterfinals at the Rio Olympics is the sporting failure that has changed my life the most, and in a positive way. I saw my opponents training full-time, so I decided to become a professional in an amateur sport. A few months later I decided to fly to live and train in the United States, in order to break out of the traditional system. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone. I did not leave angry, and I remain very grateful to the French federation. I am a globetrotter, I am independent, I choose my training, decide my schedule, I book my plane tickets, I pay my coach, my physical trainer." (liberation.fr, 30 Jan 2020; femininbio.com, 28 Jan 2020)

In late 2018 she and her partner Race Imboden ended their collaboration with Ukrainian fencer Sergei Golubitsky and began working under Italian coach Stefano Cerioni. "With him [Sergei], I learnt to get out of my comfort zone, to challenge certain elements of my training and to think about what I really wanted to get out of the sport. [But] there were things that did not correspond with our vision of training. Race and I would have liked more involvement from him, but he was often busy with his club. Also, he had a very military coaching style. With Stefano, it is a different approach. We have found a more fluid dynamic to prepare for competitions that is built around the needs of an elite athlete." (lequipe.fr, 28 Nov 2018; lci.fr, 27 Apr 2018; Red Bull Media House, 13 Nov 2018)

She says she wants to inspire young girls and use her platform to push for greater gender equality in sport. "Whenever I have the chance, I highlight women's sport around me, other female athletes because I think we all lack recognition and visibility. I denounce the injustices that still exist between women's and men's sport. What still displeases me is the vision we have of women in sport and in society. I've been told many times that I can't do it. When I decided to go to the United States, I was told that I was too sensitive, that with my emotions I would crack under the pressure, or that a man could do it but I couldn't. In the end, it motivated me even more and I have had the best results of my career since. My wish in 2021 is equal male-female media coverage, opportunities for equal partnerships, parity in sport and sports institutions, and taking into account the challenges and specifications to women's sport." (femininbio.com, 28 Jan 2020; Instagram profile, 10 Jan 2021)


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