Serious car accident led Aiken woman to fencing

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

MGN Online

(WRDW) -- Fencing is all about accuracy and precision. It's a sport rooted in history with complicated tactics to follow, but for one local fencer, winning a medal was the easiest part of it all.

From an unfortunate situation, good can occur. Three years ago, Ellen Geddes didn't know a thing about fencing.

"One of the guys that fences with them handed me a sword and asked me if I wanted to stab people... and that kind of sounded like fun, so that's how I got into fencing." Ellen Geddes said.

Geddes got into fencing after breaking her back in a car wreck. Her interest in the sport blossomed while recovering at Atlanta's Shepherd Rehab Center. The Aiken native is in a wheelchair, but hardly is it her definition.

"It wasn't the horror sentence that it must be for so many people when this happens to them. You have to keep living your life," she said.

Drawn to fencing, and motivated by an athletic background in horse riding, Geddes devotes four days a week to fencing.

"I was picking it up pretty quickly. I've been a competitor my whole life with the horses, so the competition aspect was very easy to continue," she said.

Geddes won several national fencing awards, but failed to place in her first two international events. Recently in Montreal, Geddes broke through, winning bronze at the Wheelchair World Cup Women's B Foil.

"To do well, it kind of proves that all of the work I've been doing is paying off and that I really belong," she said.

After the bronze medal finish, Ellen's future in the sport should only get brighter. With the 2016 Olympics, a realistic possibility.

"Rio? Yeah, of course, it's a goal. I'm close, I'm close to having the skill set to be in that group. I just have to keep working," she said.

Just like the wheelchair, Geddes isn't defined by her success, but she should be considered an inspiration.

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