Morehouse ’00 pointing for London Olympics
Fencing champ has advice for today's students
At the ripe age of 33, Tim Morehouse ‘00 — Brandeis University’s first and only Olympian — has come to terms that his fencing career may soon be behind him. It hasn’t slowed him down from competing for a spot in the 2012 London summer Olympics in men’s saber.
Last week, the U.S. National Team members took the gold in the men’s saber team event and Morehouse won the silver medal in the individual event at the Pam Am games in Guadalajara, Mexico. These are what Morehouse describes as a mini Olympic games, which includes North, South and Central America. This capped a season in which Morehouse secured his second individual US National Championship and finished as the number one ranked men’s saber fencer in the country for the third year in a row.“You have to be number one in your zone — you’re competing against people in your part of the world to make the Olympic spots,” says Morehouse. “A lot of athletes who will be in the London Olympics were here competing in Mexico.”
That included athletes involved in over 40 sports, with grounds set up in a similar fashion to the Olympics, complete with an athlete village and the entire city geared around the competition. This was Morehouse’s first Pan American games; he was invited to compete in 2007, but had to decline due to an Olympic qualifying tournament, which was being held around the same time.
Morehouse says that he and his teammates have spent the past four to five months preparing to qualify the maximum number of spots for men’s saber at the Olympics. Between January and March, they will take part in competitions to secure their positions on the Olympic team, with competitions taking place in Kansas City, Missouri; Portland, Oregon; Moscow, Budapest, Bulgaria and Italy.
If all goes according to plan, this will be Morehouse’s third Olympic competition. He attended Athens in 2004 and the Beijing Olympics in 2008, where he brought home a silver meda in men’s saber.
“After we won our silver in Beijing I saw that there was an opportunity to really grow the sport of fencing and to do something special that hadn’t before been done,” says Morehouse. “For the last three and a half years I’ve produced events like the Fencing Master Tournament last year in NYC, which was the largest spectator attended fencing tournament in the United States since the 1940’s.”
Morehouse has also started a foundation called Fencing-In-The Schools, a non-profit that will bring the sport of fencing to underprivileged locations; wrote a book, which will be out in April of 2012 and taught President Obama how to fence.
“I wasn’t really a highly recruited fencer coming out of high school,” Morehouse says. “It wasn’t until I was on campus that I started to realize my potential.”
Brandeis Coach William Shipman agrees.
“He was a good high school fencer but he wasn’t national level,” says Shipman, who is now in his 31st year with the Judges.
“During his senior year in the NCAAs, he fenced 23 bouts during a round robin and was 21 and 2,” says Shipman. “That was a spectacular performance. After that I realized that he could fence almost anyone in the country.”
Shipman says that Morehouse was very much a leader, always out front cheering for his team, taking, the lead and trying to do the right thing by his teammates.
“His enthusiasm bubbled over at times, but was infectious,” says Shipman.
The Brandeis fencing team is one of the most successful athletic teams on campus.
“For a division 3 school, Brandeis has done tremendously well, finishing in the top 10 amongst rosters filled with scholarship athletes,” says Morehouse. “The team does a really great job of holding their own with everyone in the country.”
Advice for current Brandeis fencers?
“A big part of my making the Olympics, which was really a long shot since Brandeis has never had an Olympian, was that I was willing to put everything that I had into it,” says Morehouse. “Set a goal and find the plan that’s going to match how much work you’ll need to put in to get there. If you’re really passionate about something, it’s surprising how far you can get.”