Race Imboden

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Race Imboden
Race Imboden CIP 2015 teams t134422.jpg
Personal information
Full nameRace Alick Reid Imboden
Country representedUnited States
Born (1993-04-17) April 17, 1993 (age 26)
Tampa, Florida, United States
ResidenceBrooklyn, New York, United States
Height1.89 m (6 ft 2 in)
Weight172 lb (78 kg)
ClubUnited Fencing Academy
Head coach(es)Stefano Cerioni
FIE rankingcurrent ranking

Race Imboden (born April 17, 1993) is an American foil fencer and menswear fashion model. A three-time Pan American champion, he took part in the 2012 Summer Olympics, the 2016 Summer Olympics – where he won a Bronze Medal in the Men's foil Team Event, earned a team silver medal in the 2013 World Fencing Championships, won the 2014–15 Fencing World Cup and took a team silver medal in the 2017 World Fencing Championships.

Personal life[edit]

Imboden was born in Tampa, Florida. His parents gave him his name after the Jonny Quest character Race Bannon.[1] He moved to Atlanta at a young age. His first sports were inline skating and BMX; an inline skating accident left him with a crooked nose and a scar on his lip.[2] He was playing with a toy sword in a park when a stranger suggested to his parents that he take up fencing.[3] Shortly afterwards his family moved to Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York City.

Imboden joined the Fencer's Club in Manhattan, where he first met Jed Dupree and Dan Kellner, both of whom were foil fencing athletes in the 2004 Summer Olympics. Both men would later work with Race as a student.[3] Imboden was educated at the Dwight School, which supported his budding sports career.[3] He fought his first international competition at age 14 and later earned the bronze medal in the cadet (U17) world fencing championships in 2010.[4] After graduating high school in spring 2011 he decided not to go to Notre Dame, with which he had signed a letter of intent, but to take a year off to focus on his training. He became a member of the Brooklyn Bridge Fencing Club, in the DUMBO section of Brooklyn, with Dan Kellner as his coach. He finally opted for St. John's University in New York, because it is closer to his family and coach.

Imboden's other passion is hip hop. He interned at independent label Fool's Gold in 2012 and is a DJ in his spare time.[1]


Imboden (right) with Team USA on the podium of the 2013 World Fencing Championships

Imboden joined the national cadet (U17) team in 2010 and won the Cadet National Championship the same year. A year after, he came first at the Senior National Championship in Portland, Oregon and won the gold medal in individual and team foil at the 2011 and 2012 Pan American Fencing Championships.[4] At the age of 17, he made the senior national team for the 2011 World Championships in Catania. For his first participation to an event of this magnitude, he reached the quarter-finals after seeing off triple world champion Peter Joppich, but lost to France's Victor Sintès.

At the beginning of the 2011–12 World Cup he earned his World Cup podium with a bronze medal in the Challenge International de Paris. His good international results had him named into the US Olympic team, which qualified him to the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London as a member of the top-ranked team in the Americas zone. Seeded no.4, he finished 9th after being eliminated in the table of 16 by Andrea Baldini of Italy.[5] In the team event, no.5 seeded USA prevailed over France, but lost to Italy, who eventually won the gold medal. They met Germany in the final for the bronze medal, but lost again and finished fourth.

In 2013 Imboden won the gold medal at the 2013 Copa Villa La Habana, his first World Cup title, breaking a 14-year drought of US Foil World Cup Champions. He is now one of two US men's foil fencers to have won a World Cup competition. In June of the same year he won a silver medal in the Pan American fencing Championships in Cartagena after being defeated in the final by his teammate Gerek Meinhardt. At the 2013 World Fencing Championships in Budapest Imboden was defeated in the table of 16 by Ukraine's Rostyslav Hertsyk, who later earned a bronze medal. He took part in the team event for the United States, who lost the final to Italy and took the silver medal. Imboden finished 10th in the 2012–13 FIE world rankings.

Imboden began the 2013–14 season win a silver medal finish in the 2013 World Combat Games.[6] He won his second USA Division-1 National Championship title in April 2014, defeating David Willette 15–6.[7] He placed second in the SK Trophée in Seoul and third in the Prince Takamado World Cup. The World Championships in Kazan were a disappointment as Imboden was defeated in the table of 16 by teammate Gerek Meinhardt. In the team event, No.4 seed USA lost to eventual silver medallist China in the quarter-finals and finished fifth. Imboden finished the season world No.10 for the second time in a row.

In the 2014–15 season Imboden made the quarter-finals in the San Francisco World Cup[8] and proceeded to win gold at the Prince Takamodo World Cup in Tokyo after overcoming Russia's Dmitry Rigin in the final.[9] He posted a third place in the Trofeo Inalpi in Turin, Italy. In January 2015 he achieved a double gold at the Challenge International de Paris: he became the first American to win the individual event after defeating Italy's Daniele Garozzo,[10] then earned a second gold medal in the team event after Team USA prevailed over Italy.[11] Imboden then took a bronze medal in the Havana Grand Prix. In April he won the Master de Fleuret in Melun, prevailing over Ma Jianfei in the final.[12] Two weeks later he earned the gold medal at the 2015 Pan American Championships in Santiago, his third individual Pan American title.[13] The 2015 World Championships in Moscow proved a disappointment: Imboden was defeated in the table of 16 by Olympic champion Lei Sheng.[14] In the team event, the United States lost to Italy in the quarter-finals and finished sixth after the placement rounds. Imboden did, however, ended the season World no.1, ten points ahead of newly crowned world champion Yuki Ota, thus becoming the first American male fencer to win the overall World Cup.[15]

In the 2015–16 season Imboden achieved another double-gold haul at the Paris World Cup, becoming the first fencer since Benjamin Kleibrink in 2006–2007 to win back-to-back editions.[16] Three podiums out of three World Cup competitions sealed the United States' qualification to the team event of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, guaranteeing three American slots in the individual event. Despite a further bronze medal at the Havana Grand Prix and a no.4 world ranking, Imboden was overtaken in the US rankings and qualified to the Olympics only as a reserve for the team event.[17]

At the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, Imboden and teammates Gerek Meinhardt and Nick Itkin won gold medals for the US men's foil team.[18]

Pan-Am Games protest[edit]

Following the U.S. men’s foil team victory at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, which earned Imboden and teammates Gerek Meinhardt and Nick Itkin gold medals, Imboden knelt on one knee on the medal podium as the United States national anthem played. Meinhardt and Itkin stood.[18] He stated in a post on Twitter that he had done so as a protest against racism, for gun control, mistreatment of immigrants, and the rhetoric of President Donald Trump.[19] United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee spokesperson Mark Jones criticized Imboden, as all athletes are to commit to refraining from political actions and demonstrations, stating "In this case, Race didn’t adhere to the commitment he made to the organizing committee and the USOPC. We respect his rights to express his viewpoints, but we are disappointed that he chose not to honor his commitment."[18] Imboden had previously mounted a similar protest with a teammate at a World Cup event in Egypt in 2017.[19]

We must call for change. This week I am honored to represent Team USA at the Pan Am Games, taking home Gold and Bronze. My pride however has been cut short by the multiple shortcomings of the country I hold so dear to my heart. Racism, Gun Control, mistreatment of immigrants, and a president who spreads hate are at the top of a long list. I chose to sacrifie my moment today at the top of the podium to call attention to issues that I believe need to be addressed. I encourage others to please use your platforms for empowerment and change.

— Race Imboden [20]

On 21 August 2019, Imboden was placed on a twelve-month probation by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee for his protest at the Pan American Games.[21]


He began modelling for Re:Quest Models after being scouted by an agent during the London Olympics.[2] In 2013 he made models.com's "hot list" of the most in-demand newcomers in the business.[22] In 2015 he began working with Wilhelmina Models. He left school during his first year to concentrate on his modelling and international career, as under NCAA rules he could not take part in collegiate fencing while being paid to model.[23]

Medal record[edit]


Imboden on the podium of the 2015 Challenge International de Paris



  1. ^ a b Greg Wyshynski (July 26, 2012). "Race Imboden: U.S. fencing's rising star and Brooklyn hipster DJ". Yahoo! Sports.
  2. ^ a b William Van Meter (March 19, 2013). "One to Watch: Mr Race Imboden". Mr Porter Journal.
  3. ^ a b c John Otis (May 7, 2012). "For a Young American Fencer, It Started With Toy Swords". The New York Times.
  4. ^ a b "Race Imboden, USA Fencing". TeamUSA.org.
  5. ^ Men's Individual Foil, London 2012.
  6. ^ SportAccord Combat Games (ed.). "Szasz wins gold in women's epee for Hungary, Kruse takes the title in men's foil for Great Britain". Archived from the original on October 29, 2013.
  7. ^ Nicole Jomantas (April 12, 2014). "Imboden Earns Second Men's Foil National Championship". US Fencing.
  8. ^ G. Allen Johnson (October 19, 2014). "And He's Off: Race Imboden Starts Fencing Season On High Note". TeamUSA.org.
  9. ^ "Scherma, coppa del Mondo di fioretto: bis della Errigo, primo podio per Cassarà" (in Italian). Gasport. November 8, 2014.
  10. ^ Alessandro Gennari (January 17, 2015). "Mamma che Garozzo!". Pianeta Scherma (in Italian).
  11. ^ Alessandro Gennari (January 18, 2015). "Quel dommage!". Pianeta Scherma (in Italian).
  12. ^ "Race Imboden, maître de Melun". Le Parisien (in French). April 4, 2015.
  13. ^ Nicole Jomantas (April 19, 2015). "Race Imboden wins third individual Pan Am title, Team USA takes five medals on opening day". US Fencing.
  14. ^ US Fencing Association (July 17, 2015). "Men's team foil at the 2015 World Fencing Championships". teamUSA.org.
  15. ^ Nicole Jomantas (August 5, 2015). "Race Imboden Becomes First U.S. Man to Win Overall World Cup Title". US Fencing. Retrieved August 9, 2015.
  16. ^ Daniel Etchelis (January 17, 2016). "United States' Imboden claims gold at men's foil Fencing World Cup in Paris". Inside the Games.
  17. ^ Nicole Jomantas (March 15, 2016). "U.S. Men's Foil Team Finalized for Rio Olympic Games". US Fencing.
  18. ^ a b c Baer, Jack (August 10, 2019). "Champion U.S. fencer takes knee on medal podium during national anthem, calls for social change". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  19. ^ a b "Race Imboden, Olympic fencer, takes knee on Pan Am Games podium". NBC Sports. August 10, 2019. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  20. ^ https://mobile.twitter.com/Race_Imboden/status/1159988039902466049
  21. ^ "Pan Am Games Protesters Put On Probation For 12 Months". KDKA-TV. August 21, 2019. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  22. ^ "The Hot List (Men)". models.com.
  23. ^ Maggie Hendricks (February 26, 2016). "Race Imboden balances life of fencing and modeling". USA Today.

External links[edit]