As part of Metro's ongoing coverage leading up to the 2012 Olympic Games in London, we're introducing readers to the athletes who will be representing the United States.
Daryl Homer is currently the #1 male fencer in the country and #12 in the world. That's a lot of pressure for a 21-year-old athlete, but to Homer, it only serves as more motivation to take home the gold.
Born in the Virgin Islands and raised in the Bronx, Homer belongs to the Manhattan Fencing Center. He somehow manages to balance life as a St. John's University marketing major and being the youngest member 2012 USA Olympic Men’s Sabre Team as he prepares to head to London, where the world will likely see extraordinary things from him.
Homer dished to Metro about his hopes for London, his go-to traditions and the foods he uses for fuel as he readies himself for his first Olympic experience.
Metro: What is the one thought that has been running through your mind most as you prepare for London?
Homer: Winning a medal. I know making it to the Olympic Games is a huge deal, but winning a medal makes you a legend. It's something no one can ever take away from you, something you've worked for, something that speaks such high volumes about your abilities as both a person and an athlete. I've thought about possible celebrations, possible outcomes, celebrating with family and friends, and bringing that honor to my family.
You're currently ranked #1 in the U.S. What kind of pressure does that add to your performance?
As a leader of our team, I understand the other guys will feed off of my energy. This doesn't add pressure, but provides motivation and drive. We know we are capable of fencing with the best teams in the world. It's all on us, and that's the only thing we can ask for. Now it's up to us to perform!
Who do you believe will be your biggest competition at the games?
There are so many strong fencers, from so many countries in the world. I can't say there is anyone specific — like I said, it's all on me. I plan on entering the Olympic Games with the right energy, great mental stamina, and in awesome physical shape. These things will define my success not my competitors.
Do you have any lucky charms or superstitions you stick to before an event?
I'm pretty big on spending time alone. Generally, I try to break my mental preparation into two parts. The night before the competition I spend time alone, and imagine all possible outcomes. I always make sure to end these thoughts with positive outcomes. I also tend to tidy my living spaces before a competition. Following the same theme I try to get a nice haircut before every competition.
What is your pre-competition ritual?
I listen to music before every competition. Currently my favorite artists are Meek Mill, Kanye West, Big Sean, and Wale.
What's your favorite pre-event meal and what do you like to eat after a competition?
After a long trip, I love to indulge in West Indian Food. I'm pretty big on eating foods from a multitude of different cultures. Pre-event, I usually go with a steak.
What is your diet like when you are not strictly training for a big competition? Do you ever let yourself splurge or indulge in a favorite guilty pleasure?
This year, I experimented with the Mediterranean diet and found it super helpful. Generally I eat whatever looks good. I love all kinds of ethnic foods, especially Thai, Chinese, and Japanese.
As a New Yorker, do you have any message you'd like to send to the people of NYC who will be cheering for you?
Fencing is an amazing sport! It provides benefits for the body, the mind, and experience that can be directly correlated to life!