By Karin Kuiper
Every Thursday the children of Carmel Creek Elementary School participate in the PTA-sponsored fitness club Cougars in Motion, which is part of a program to raise awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle at an early age. The children from first through fourth grade run or walk one-quarter mile laps around the grassy sports fields. They earn the wildly popular “foot” or “shoe” charms for varying numbers of laps which are collected on a bracelet.
Last week was a very special Cougars in Motion because Olympic fencer Soren Thompson paid a surprise visit to the school. Soren, a San Diego native, grew up in Carmel Valley and graduated Torrey Pines High School in 1999 and Princeton University in 2005.
Soren began fencing in a USCD recreational class at the age of 7. At 12, he began commuting to Los Angeles for more competitive training, which eventually paid off. From 1999-2001, Soren was the top ranked U.S. Junior men’s Epee fencer, becoming 1999 U.S. Junior Olympic and 2000 Junior National Champion.
Soren fenced four years for Princeton University, winning the NCAA Championship title. In 2004 he qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team, in Athens Greece, where he finished 7th in Individual Men’s Epee. He continued to fence on the U.S. National Team up to the 2008 Olympic Games after which he took a hiatus to work in international business.
In early 2011, Soren decided to stage a comeback and try for a berth on the 2012 Olympic Team. As the season progressed he won Bronze in the Stockholm Grand Prix, won the U.S. National Championships in Portland and Gold at the Pan American Championships, among other achievements. At this moment he is ranked first in the U.S. and 10th in the world.
It was great that Soren took the time to help during the Cougars in Motion program. The Olympic athlete is a true inspiration for the children who may dream of ever competing at the Olympic Games. Without a doubt, Carmel Creek will be following Soren Thompson’s progress in the 2012 Olympic year.
Legends by photos
Photo 1. From left, third-graders Reid Hershey, Kai Walsh and Joost de Jong with Soren Thompson.
Photo 2. Back row, from left: Soren Thompson, Trinity Peck, Victoria Thompson, Malou Petersen, Alva Olsson, Isabella Baretto, Malia Koliander, Tzipporah Moehringer, Alexandra Chudin, Ruairi Brown and Sheila Thompson, co-chair PTA Carmel Creek School; front row: Samantha Prestrelski, Talia Pearlman, Peyton Hinman, Sarah Golts and Emma Lee. Photo: Karin Kuiper
Article and photos by Karin Kuiper