Tokyo 2020

Hi everyone! My name is Blessing Olaode. I am a Nigerian fencer and 2020 Olympic hopeful training to compete this summer in Tokyo, Japan. I have fenced in the United States competitively since I was fourteen, beginning at Columbia High School in New Jersey before earning the opportunity to compete on the Division I Temple University Women’s Fencing Team under Hall of Fame Head Coach, Dr. Nikki Franke. As a student-athlete, I was provided with ample resources to help me learn to balance my athletic obligations with my academics and personal responsibilities. By my senior year of college, I was elected team captain and qualified for the NCAA championships, where I was selected as an All-American. Since graduating in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science/Arts in Neuroscience, I have worked and trained full-time to fund my dream of representing my home country of Nigeria at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

I was born in Ibadan, Nigeria before my family moved to the United States. Until I was 20 years old, I had exclusively trained and competed in the US, honing my skills, and immersing myself in the fencing community. On a family trip to Nigeria, I was invited to train at a local fencing club where representatives of the Nigeria Fencing Federation proposed representing Nigeria on the world stage. The privilege to continue my sport upon graduating college while representing my birthplace and opening doors for future Nigerian fencers has motivated me to embrace new challenges and pursue opportunities I had never dreamed possible. For my first Zonal Championship in 2018, I flew to a new country by myself to compete individually without teammates or coaches present. I quickly realized that I was well prepared and capable of combating the challenges that come with pursuing an Olympic dream. Regardless of the destination or level of competition, I have welcomed new experiences and the opportunity to expand my team. I have joined the network of other Olympic hopefuls as we pursue the honor of representing our countries and the world at the pinnacle of competitive greatness. 

Fencing has been monumental in my life because it has connected me with friends, teammates, coaches, and competitors from all over the world. Competing internationally to qualify for Tokyo 2020 brings an overwhelming sense of pride and thankfulness for my teammates and coaches that have pushed me to compete at the highest possible levels. Still, consistent travel and coaching come with financial expenses. As a member of the Nigerian Fencing Federation, I have benefited from their support while helping to develop the nascent program. Fencing, although popular world-wide, is not generally recognized in Nigeria, making total financial aid unattainable. I have persistently worked to fund my intense competition schedule, but as Olympic qualifiers are rapidly approaching, now is the time to focus on my training. 

Your generous support can help make my Olympic dream a reality. If you are able, please consider donating. Thank you for your support! 

Donations will be used to fund travel expenses, coaching fees, equipment, and associated training expenses. Thank you for choosing to become part of my team as we embark on the #RoadtoTokyo


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Blessing Olaode 
Maplewood, NJ
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