SAN DIEGO -- Soren Thompson has made a remarkable comeback that will peak at the Summer Olympics in London.
He went from retirement, to a spot on the U.S. Olympic fencing team by going solo.
Thompson has had several coaches since he started fencing at age seven. But just recently, he discovered one of the best coaches he's ever worked with: himself.
“I felt like everybody I tried was forcing it and it wasn't a comfortable experience for me,” Thompson said. “So I decided to just go with the things that I knew how to do and essentially coach myself and I started fencing better than I had in a really long time. That was very encouraging, so a bit of a chance maybe that I took, but it was the thing that felt right for me and it really worked out.”
It worked out so well that Thompson qualified for the 2012 Olympics in men's epee. It marks the second time he'll represent the U.S. in the Olympics. He also went in 2004 and finished in seventh place and then missed the 2008 games when he tore a hamstring right before the trials.
Back in San Diego recently for a clinic in Sorrento Valley, the Torrey Pines High School graduate (class of 1999) said he had virtually retired from the sport after 2008. Then about a year ago, he decided to quit his full-time job and pick up the foil seriously one more time.
“When I jumped in there I had a lot riding on it financially,” Thompson said. “So not much better of a motivator than that. When you put everything on the line you have to go out and go bring home your goal or you've wasted all that. It's come out well so far, just have to keep it going.”
Thompson says he has funded his training by himself and, one month shy of his 31st birthday, he has moved up the world rankings to number eight. Thompson says he has high expectations when he fences on August 1st in London and believes he could strike gold.
“I know on my day, if I prepare well, and I go in there focused, I can beat anybody,” Thompson said. “I put no limit on what I can do.”
Especially after what he's already done.