Mariel Zagunis, who attended school on the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon campus from kindergarten through her high school graduation in 2003, received the school’s first Distinguished Alumni Award. A two-time Olympic champion, Zagunis earned gold medals in women’s sabre in 2004 and 2008.
Asked about her teachers and her early years of fencing, Zagunis said whenever she traveled to compete in tournaments, her teachers asked two things. First, they asked how she did at her latest competition. Then they asked whether she had done her homework.
When a student asked her how she felt when she won her second gold medal, Zagunis said, “I felt every emotion all at once, except for sad. The biggest feeling was probably uncontrollable laughter.”
She told the students to follow their dreams and to believe that, if they work hard, they too can one day compete in the Olympic Games.