New Jersey’s Jackie Dubrovich competing in her first Olympics this year in Tokyo.
The 27-year-old New Jersey native is participating in the individual and team foil fencing events at the Tokyo Olympics. Competing on fencing’s largest stage is a dream years in the making for Dubrovich, who began fencing at only 8 years old.
Here's a look at Dubrovich's journey to the Olympics.
Get Philly local news, weather forecasts, sports and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Philadelphia newsletters.
Dubrovich was born in Paterson and grew up in Riverdale. After graduating from college in 2016, she lived in Hoboken with her fiancé, Brian Kaneshige.
During the pandemic, she moved to Maplewood, where Kaneshige and his family are from. She has spent most of the last year at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs preparing for the games with the rest of the women’s foil team.
Tokyo Olympics 2020 Predictions
Watch all the action from the Tokyo Olympics live on NBC
Dubrovich has a chance at gold in both the individual and team events. If she wins her individual event, she would be the first-ever U.S. women’s foil fencer to take home an individual Olympic medal.
“I’ve been training really hard and I’m just excited to be able to implement everything that I’ve been working on, on the biggest stage for fencing,” Dubrovich said.
You can watch her compete in the individual event on Sunday, July 25 and in the team event on Thursday, July 29.
Dubrovich has previous world championship experience, including winning bronze in the team foil event in 2019. She placed first in the Junior World Championship team event in 2014, and placed second in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Dubrovich’s parents got her into fencing when she was only eight, since one of her cousins in Fair Lawn was involved in the sport. At first, Dubrovich didn’t enjoy fencing. She said she was made fun of by classmates who taunted her and asked “Do you jump over fences for a sport?”
As she began winning more, her love for the sport grew and she now has a huge appreciation for the dynamic mental and physical aspects of fencing.
Dubrovich has also started a family of her own with Kaneshige with the addition of Mika, a tri-colored Basenji, to their family. The pair runs an Instagram account dedicated to the dog, featuring pictures of Mika dressed in Olympic gear.
Her loved ones will be cheering her on from Orlando, where the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee and NBC Universal are hosting friends and family for watch parties.
Dubrovich studied psychology, human rights and Russian literature and culture at Columbia University in New York where she was a member of the No. 1-nationally ranked fencing team for four years. She served as elected captain of the team for the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 seasons.
Dubrovich is coached by her fiancé, who is also a competitive fencer. They started working together this past season when he did not qualify for the men’s Olympic team.
Dubrovich said they had to think long and hard about the decision to mix their personal and professional lives, but so far the partnership has been successful. She said that establishing guidelines, such as keeping most of the fencing talk limited to lessons and practice, has helped them separate home and work.
Lee Kiefer, Nicole Ross and Sabrina Massialas will compete alongside Dubrovich on the women’s foil team.
One thing that sets Dubrovich apart from most professional athletes is her ability to juggle a nine-to-five corporate job and play her sport professionally. Dubrovich works as a retail media account strategist at Criteo, although she is currently on a leave of absence for the summer to focus on fencing.
She said she has had to make many sacrifices to balance work and fencing, but it’s all been worth it now that she is in Tokyo.
“Looking back on it I don't remember all those tough times,” she said. “I just really think about the end goal and how I've been able to accomplish it.”
Don’t miss the most exciting moments of the Winter Olympics in Beijing! Sign up for our Olympics newsletter.