Anthony Crutchett (Downing 2006)
Subject: Classics followed by Management Studies
Hoping to qualify for: Men’s Sabre
Key piece of equipment: “My swords; you use some in training and some in competition, and they break regularly."
“I started fencing at Brentwood School, in Essex, aged 8. I wasn’t in the football team, so my mother encouraged me to take up fencing. She had fenced herself for a term at school. Initially I fell into foil, a common place to start, but a weapon I no longer fence. I wasn’t particularly good at it during the first year, but then all my classmates changed to sabre fencing. Cutting, slashing and beating up my mates with a sword was really fun. I was much better at it, and I went from doing four hours a week to eight and then 16.
I was always balancing fencing with school. In my last year, I only attended two days of school in January because I went to the Commonwealth Games and the Junior World Championships. Fencing played a very big part of my life at Cambridge, as I fenced for the University in BUCS, Varsity Matches and the annual Old Blues and Town Club Matches, while at the same time balancing my Great Britain training and competition commitments. The University team trained as a club twice a week, plus we did our own individual training with our weapon teams and also got together for non-fencing activities every Wednesday. Building that team spirit and unity really stood us in good stead.
The level was high when I fenced at Cambridge, but preparing for the Olympics is very different to Varsity preparations at University. When I competed in Varsity Matches, the performance involved using all three weapons to produce a score, so you had to rely a great deal on how your team mates did as well as yourself, much like an athletics relay. This is a very different sort of preparation.
I went to Beijing in 2008 as training partner for fellow Cambridge fencer Alex O’Connell, so I had the experience of being a support team member in the Olympics while keeping in mind the fact I wanted to do it myself. After I won the Commonwealth Games in 2010, it was clearly the next step. The Ithacan goal of the Olympics was always something to aim for, and attending an event with 11,000 people living in the athletes’ village was great preparation for the real thing. As a classicist, I studied the Olympic games and read about them at school, so I’m really looking forward to actually competing in them.”
Anthony is supported by NGM Body Work and Performance, the Hawks Club and is a BT London 2012 official storyteller.