CONCOURSE — Olympic silver medalist and Bronx native Daryl Homer dazzled students at a South Bronx charter school by besting fellow Olympian Ivan Lee in a fencing match by a score of five points to three.
Homer, who grew up in Olinville and won second place in sabre at the Rio Olympics this summer, went to the Rosalyn Yalow Charter School on Thursday for a fencing demonstration against Ivan Lee, who fenced at the 2004 Athens Olympics and sits on the school's board of trustees.
The charter school has a fencing program of its own for students, and Homer said he believes the sport can help instill several strong values in its players.
"Fencing, for me, made me more disciplined. It made me more confident. It taught me a lot of work ethic, and it taught me there are more downs than ups in life," he said, "so I’m really grateful for it. I'm sure the kids are as well."
Homer attended P.S. 23 in The Bronx and said he first became interested in fencing at age 5 after reading about it in a children's dictionary.
"[I] told my mom I wanted to do it," he said. "She looked in the yellow pages at the time and found a club, and the rest is history."
He plans to compete again at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and said he hopes his success helps other New Yorkers realize they can do anything they set their minds to.
Homer took classes with Lee growing up and said he was one of his role models, while Lee said he could tell from a young age that Homer had the potential to be an incredibly successful fencer.
"He always had the talent," Lee said. "It was just a matter of getting him focused in the right direction."
"I remember beating up on him as a little kid and always watching him come back for more, come back for more," he continued. "He always wanted to be better. He would never give up."
He said fencing could become more popular in The Bronx if there were more exposure to the complex sport.
"It’s hard to understand what’s going on if you actually see a competitive fencing battle," Lee said. "Someone would have to explain everything to you."
Djeneba Diallo, a 7-year-old student at Rosalyn Yalow, said she thought the match-up between the two Olympians was great and hopes to compete at the games herself someday.
"It was awesome," she said, "because the fencing was so quick."