Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Olympic Dreams: Richard Kruse

Name: Richard Kruse

Date of Birth: 30/7/1983, Age 28

Event: Fencing – foil

Career Highlight: Finishing eighth at the 2004 Athens Olympics when just 21

Did you know? In the build-up to Beijing Olympics, Kruse worked part-time as a civil engineer on the London 2012 site.

Fencing has not historically been one of Great Britain’s strongest sports at the Olympics. However, the influence of one man has given Britain real hope of a medal this summer at London. Foil fencer, Richard Kruse, burst onto the scene in 2001 when he became the youngest ever British champion at the tender age of 17, and his career has gone from strength to strength.

In 2004, he surprised the whole nation by reaching the quarter finals of the Athens Olympics. It was the best finish for a British fencer since the Tokyo Olympics forty years previously.

He followed this up with an excellent silver medal in the European Championships in 2006; Britain’s first fencing medal in any international event since 1965. Although Kruse dissapointingly missed out on an automatic qualifying place for the Beijing Olympics, he still managed to compete as a wildcard entry, reaching the round of 16.

The 2009 season was arguably his most consistent, as he won gold at the Copenhagen World Cup and silver at the 2009 European Fencing Championships. He almost retained his World Cup medal in 2011, but lost by a single point against Italian Andrea Baldini.

Kruse’s recent form has been good, defeating world champion Andrea Cassara en route to a bronze medal at the Japan Wakayama Grand Prix in April, before claiming another bronze at the European Championships last month.

Now Kruse is part of a nine-strong Team GB squad, along with fellow foil fencers James Davis and Husayn Rosowsky. His main rival will probably be Germany’s Peter Joppich, who has finished within the top six in the previous two Olympics and has four foil world titles to his name.

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