MONICA AKSAMIT- ROAD TO RIO!
I am 25 years old and I have a shot at fulfilling my lifelong dream of qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Team in the sport of fencing. I need your support on the road to Rio in 2016!
With minimal funding in this sport, the purpose of this campaign is to assist in the costs of properly training on my Road to Rio. Like many professional athletes are paid to do their jobs, this is not the case with fencing and I need to give 100% focus to bettering myself in pursuit of the Olympics on a daily basis! Competitions are located all over the world, and in order to have a chance of qualifying you have to attend all of them in order to collect points, which are awarded for your result. The more competitions you go to, the more chances you have to improve your ranking. Among the many costs associated with an Olympic training and competing:
-Commutes: I commute 4-5 times a week to Manhattan from New Jersey in order to train with the top coaches in the United States, as well as other top fencers. While 4 times seems like a lot, I actually need to increase that number to 5 times per week, during this last year before 2016.
Last year I spent about $5,000 in train commutes.
-Traveling: Flights, hotels and visas. Every season we have 8 international competitions. These are held all over the world, from China and Korea to France and Venezuela. We also have 3 national competitions which are held in one of the 50 states.
Last year I spent around $10,600 for World Cup travel and about $2000 for National tournaments. Visas cost me $570.
-Competition costs: For each competition there is a registration fee, and there is also a competition fee.
Last year cost me $1,300 in order to be able to compete in tournaments.
I have supported my pursuit of Rio 2016 for the past 3 years, through part-time jobs including, coaching children in the sport of fencing, refereeing competitions all over the state of New Jersey, small promotional modeling jobs, as well as generous donations.
Silver Medal in Team at World Championships
3x USA World Team Member (2007, 2008 & 2009)
2x NCAA Team Champion
Runner-Up NCAA Champion
3x NCAA All American for Pennsylvania State University
When I was 12 years old, during one of my weekends with my dad, I asked him for $20 to buy a fencing mask. He responded by saying, “Fencing is a luxury,” “It’s not like you’ll ever have any real accomplishments.” From that day on, I vowed to reach the highest level that I possibly could to prove him wrong.
I started fencing 16 years ago, when I was 9 years old.. It was love at first sight, and my mom couldn’t keep me away from it. At that time my parents had already been divorced, and my mom had to raise me entirely on her own. It was always a struggle with getting me to practices and competitions, but luckily my club mates and my mom’s friends helped out.
When I was 15 years old, my mom was diagnosed with second stage breast cancer. It was the scariest year of my life. I was horrified that I would lose her, and watching her suffer through multiple surgeries, followed by chemotherapy wasn’t easy. She was very fortunate to not have lost the battle, and I, to not have lost my mother. Her strength pushed me at practices and competitions, both of which were a great escape from what was happening back home. The following year I won my first Cadet national competition and went on to make my first national team. I also went on to make more national teams, which ended up landing me a scholarship at The Pennsylvania State University.
As a freshman for the Nittany Lions, I started off 1 touch short of the final 4 and finished in 5th place at NCAAs. By the end of my collegiate career, I was a 3x All-American, a 2012 Runner-Up champion and accumulated 2 NCAA team championship titles. I was devastated with my loss my senior year, but after a conversation with my personal coach, I decided to commit the next 4 years of my life, in pursuit of a spot on the 2016 Olympic Team.
I’ve coached, and taught countless young fencers, not only to become better athletes, but better people. Sharing the importance of health and motivating others to improve their lives is my next life initiative behind my Road to Rio.
On my Facebook FanPage, I will be uploading videos and articles because I want people to know the real me. I’m excited to meet the many wonderful people that support my dream and share in my passion to share truth and love to all.
-Extra on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit