American fencer Elizabeth Tartakovsky says representing US on Olympic stage a ‘special’ moment

 

Elizabeth Tartakovsky was an energetic and athletic child who tried her hand at a number of sports: ballet, tennis and swimming. Now on the verge of turning 24, Tartakovsky has found success in fencing – a passion that has led her to the biggest stage. 

Tartakovsky, the 2022 NCAA Women’s Sabre national champion, will be representing Team USA at the Summer Olympics in Paris in what will be her Olympic debut. 

“In terms of results-wise, it’s definitely a gold medal, if not two, because we have the individual event and the team event,” Tartakovsky said of her goal in an interview with Fox News Digital on Thursday. 

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“When I think more big picture – and this is what I’m really trying to focus on – I really want the rest of this journey leading up to the Olympics and my Olympic experience to be really celebratory. Only one person comes out with a gold medal. So, I don’t want my experience to be defined by the result. I really just want to take it all in and really be grateful to myself even [with] how far I allowed myself to get, all the barriers I overcame and to just celebrate this big achievement and to soak in the experience.”

Tartakovsky’s start in fencing has a unique beginning.

In her youth, she was involved in various sports, but her focus was on ballet. Despite the positives of learning coordination and flexibility, she said it wasn’t “stimulating enough” for her.

“I always shared the story that I got kicked out of ballet class for talking too much,” she says with a smile.

Her introduction to fencing came at a young age when she saw her great uncle, famed Olympic fencing coach Yury Gelman, coach the men’s Sabre team to the silver medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics. Tartakovsky said she was “captivated” by the sport.

“I had never seen anything like it.”

It was then that Tartakovsky’s parents, immigrants from Ukraine, asked her and her sister if they wanted to try fencing. They enrolled the sisters at a local club in New Jersey, which opened the door to Tartakovsky’s success.

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“My parents immigrated to this country. They grew up in the Soviet Union in Kyiv, what is now Ukraine, and they came to this country for opportunity.” 

“They instilled hard work in me, and they wanted a better future for me than what they had themselves. And I’m very glad that I can do this for them and also just for myself to realize what a high level I reached in my athletic career.”  

Being able to represent the country that afforded her and her family so many opportunities is “special,” Tartakovsky says.

“I think it’ll also be really amazing to meet the other athletes on Team USA. I mean, we’re really a melting pot of people from different backgrounds and different experiences. It’s very special, and it’s very special to me to be able to represent a country that’s given me this opportunity to succeed.”

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Tartakovsky, who turns 24 on May 21, represents Team USA in the women’s Sabre event when the Games begin on July 26.

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