10 Questions With Olympian Miles Chamley-Watson
Miles Chamley-Watson, a senior fencer at Penn State, is on his way to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London with the U.S. Men’s Foil Team. He was redshirted this season along with junior David Wilette (who’s sister, Doris, a 2011 PSU grad, competed in the 2008 Olympics, and will return as an alternate for the 2012 games in Women’s Foil) to prepare for the Olympics.
He will return to State College for the Fall 2012 semester, when he will graduate. He said that it was weird because all his friends are graduating and he’ll still be here. As of today, he is on his way to Wakayama, Japan, for his fifth World Cup of the year.
Onward State: How did you first get involved with fencing?
Miles Chamley-Watson: I first got involved when I moved from England [to the United States] when I was ten years old and I just tried it at an after-school program and I liked it. Then, as I got more and more down the line, before I knew it I was off with a scholarship to Penn State. I did that, soccer, and basketball, but decided to stick with fencing.
OS: Even though you are a foilist, have you tried fencing using other weapons?
MCW: I fooled around with [using other weapons] a couple times at Penn State competitions. I ended up winning first in epee and second in saber. I have an A rating in all three weapons. (Side note: In fencing, the rating scale goes from U, for unranked, to E, D, C, B, A. A is the highest weapon that any fencer can achieve.)
OS: How did you prepare yourself to train for this year’s Olympics?
MCW: This year I decided to take a year off school, and I wanted to focus on just training with my coach. I got a strength coach and a stretching coach, and I’ve been working with a personal trainer. I’ve been working with all those forces and training in Colorado Springs [at the Olympic Training Center]. If I’m going to take a year off to prepare myself for fencing, I’m going to devote all my time to fencing and working out and getting myself in healthy shape.
OS: What do you hope to accomplish this year in the Olympics?
MCW: I think–I know I can come back with a medal. I’m going to try to win a gold medal.
OS: What is different about competing in world events rather than college events?
MCW: Generally in the world cups, you have to focus on yourself, whereas in college you can count on your team to pick you up and you’re a member of the squad. They’re both intense, and the world scale is much bigger, with the world cups, and the world cups are harder. Keeping your focus is important for both.
OS: What’s on your playlist to get you pumped before you compete?
MCW: Usually I have…well, lemme go look at my phone and tell you! I have everything on here from Drake and Chris Brown to Avicii. I have everything on here. I’m a big Lil’ Wayne fan. He gets me pumped. I also have some English rap on here too, but you guys [in America] don’t really know who that is. I have A-Trak on here too.
OS: Do you have a specific food or meal that you always eat before competing?
MCW: I like to eat steak. It’s usually my go-to food, if I can. I’m a big steak guy. Big in pasta too. When I eat pasta, [I enjoy] penne alla vodka, but you can’t always find that in Europe. Carbonara’s good too. Usually it’s penne alla vodka, carbonara, and chicken parm. Something that won’t upset my stomach.
OS: Where was the place you had the most fun at in a tournament?
MCW: The craziest time I think I had was in Russia. Cuba was also one of my favorites. We had a world cup there, and then we got to go the beach afterwards.
OS: Are you named after anybody, and if not, how did your parents come up with such an awesome name?
MCW: People ask me this a lot! I had an interview a while ago where they asked this same question. I asked my parents about it after it, and I think they liked Miles Davis, but I don’t think that was the reason I was named Miles. To be honest, I think it was because they liked him, so I’m gonna go ahead and say that.
OS: If you were a dinosaur, what would you be and why?
MCW: It’s funny you asked me this question, because my strength trainer has a little kid who’s obsessed with dinosaurs. He would sit in my lap and read [facts about dinosaurs] to me. I’d have to say the quetzalcoatlus. The reason I say that is because he calls me that, because it’s like the biggest dinosaur, and I’m pretty tall. It’s like the biggest dinosaur to exist, and he’s a little kid [compared to me], so it makes sense. (Side note: Miles is 6’4.5”. He’s really, really tall. And the quetzalcoatlus was like a pterodactyl with a wingspan of around 52 feet.)
Best of luck to Miles as he competes in the FIE Grand Prix in Wakayama, the Summer Olympics, and beyond!
You can follow his journey @MChamWatsonUSA, and at his Facebook page.