Gary M. Van Der Wege
Gary began fencing in the South Texas Division in 1979. His fencing career was interrupted on a couple of occasions; most notably when he was hit from behind while on a motorcycle. It resulted in permanent damage to both legs. As he began the recovery process, he became involved in coaching and officiating as a way to give back to the Texas fencing community that had helped him through the long and difficult recovery period.
In 2000, he found out he was eligible for Paralympic/seated fencing. He began training and qualified for the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, where he competed in Foil and Epee. He retired from competition to focus on officiating, coaching, and promoting Para-Fencing. In 2011, he came out of retirement to win the Pan-American Epee Zonals and qualify for the 2012 Games in London, where he was the oldest person on the entire US Olympic and Paralympic Team.
Gary retired from competition with six US National Championships (four in Epee, one in Foil and one in Sabre), numerous NAC Championships, and at one point was ranked 8th in the world.
He is one of about 60 accredited Fencing Master’s in the US, and has taught and coached at numerous clubs and universities. He offers coaching seminars through the USFCA and is owner/ coach of VANDERWEGE Academie d’Armes.
Gary is also a Certified Referee Instructor who mentors and rates developing referees, and a regular official at the US NACs and National Championship events. He also maintains his IWAS referee license and continues to officiate internationally.