Submitted by Kathryn M.

Event: Approximately 10 years ago at a Junior
Olympics Fencing Tournament in Colorado.

When my son was 15 years old and fencing at the Junior Olympics, he stopped a life changing bout, which he was just about to win to have the director check his competitor’s equipment to see if there was something wrong with it. There was! This is almost unheard of in fencing, especially at such an important tournament. After everything was resolved with his competitor’s failing equipment, I couldn’t believe my eyes, when I saw my son lose by just one point! I was heartbroken to see him lose like he did. Before my son stopped the bout, the score had been 8 to 2 in his favor. The final score was 15 to 14. For us to attend that tournament, as well as bring his coach, it cost me over a thousand dollars for the three day event. Even though I was obviously upset by the look on my face, my son, still walked of the strip smiling at me, which he still does today, no matter if he wins or loses. The very first thing I asked him was why in the heck he had stopped the bout? I nearly yelled at him because by stopping the bout for the five minutes that it took for the other fencer to find a working weapon, he had broken his focus as well as his timing. In my opinion, my son was the better fencer and should have won, regardless if the other fencer’s equipment worked or not! To me, fencing is like race car driving. If your equipment doesn’t work, you don’t win and it’s a well-known aspect of fencing that every fencer should always clean, check and prep their equipment on a regular basis, especially, prior to a tournament! The condition of a fencer’s weapons is as important as a fencer's skill and talent! Anyway, my son’s response to my anger was, “come-on mom… you know, that it wouldn’t have been fair if I had won in that way!" Then he told me that he would pay me back for the cost of the trip. I told him that it was okay and that even though I was upset, that I was still very proud of him and I hugged him lightly, because he was totally soaked from perspiration. Then his coach, walked up to us… wearing a strange smile and shaking his head. He said the very same thing and then he added… no one else but Shaun would give away an Olympic medal, to be so honest. Well, the tournament officials found out about the whole thing and at the next tournament… my son was treated very special and it seemed as if a lot of people went out of their way to greet him. My son, not only gave up a medal at the Junior Olympics for his incredible honesty, but he also affected, what would have been a respected standing in our country. All in all, it taught me that my son, who “never” lies, was put on this planet for something “very” special! I always receive very nice comments from people about him. I just wonder sometimes, if he's really my child and if it's possible, that he may be from another planet. I've never met anyone as honest or as smart! Thanks Shaun, for showing me and everyone you’ve ever met… just how incredible a person can be, without even trying! Also, for everything you have given me throughout your life, which reminds me constantly, that there are everyday heroes as close as the members of our own families!

Note: I recorded that event.

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