It's easy to get caught up in the frenzy during a sports match. Many athletes thrive on the chaos: the cheers from the crowd, screams from coaches, and shouts of teammates helping them get pumped up to perform their best.
But Jenny Ko blocks that all out. She doesn't want that amped-up rush of adrenaline. For Jenny, a laser focus and clear thinking are what it takes to win.
"My biggest challenge when I am fencing is remaining calm," says the 16-year-old German Swiss International School fencer. "Having a stable mind and staying positive when stepping onto the piste is extremely important, as it greatly affects your performance."
Jenny explains that fencing requires more than just athletic prowess, and it's that extra challenge that drew her in.
"I love how fencing is a sport that requires both psychological and physical strength," she says. "Not only do I have to train physically, but I also have to think about ways to solve certain situations during matches."
But you can't solve problems if your mind isn't focused. "I need to learn not to be too nervous," she says, "because it can lead you to make many mistakes and make wrong judgments."
Jenny has been fencing for four years, and became enamoured with the finesse of the sport right away. "It started as a hobby," she says, "but now I fence four times a week because I enjoy it so much."
Jenny's enjoyment comes from the spirit of the sport itself, rather than the competitive side. "For me, winning a medal is not my greatest personal achievement," she says.
"It is the emotional experience I gain from every competition I go to. I learn so much every time, such as dealing with loss, fighting difficult opponents, and fencing your closest friends."
The mental and strategic challenge is what pushes Jenny to excel, and what has given her a distinctly different sort of goal to work towards. "My ultimate goal in my sport is to adopt my own rhythm and style," Jenny says.
"It is often very tempting to emulate another fencer's style, and it is actually acceptable to do so at first, but since I've been fencing for a long time, I want to develop my own unique footwork style or attacking method."
Jenny says that fencing hasn't just made her a better athlete, but a better person in many different aspects. "Through fencing, I have become more creative, better able to control my emotions, and have developed good sportsmanship," she says.
"Most importantly, I always feel challenged, which makes me more determined and motivated."
What song/movie title best describes you when you're playing your sport?
Wave Forms by Islands. Whenever I'm undergoing a slump, it motivates me to move on, just like the song emphasises.
You can have any superpower you choose for 24 hours. What do you choose and how do you use this power?
The ability to hear what others are thinking. I would use this to solve conflict! (This is inspired by a Korean drama called I Can Hear Your Voice.)
If you could have an unlimited supply of anything, what would it be and why?
Time? I have so much I want to do and achieve, but my biggest obstacle from doing these things is limited time.
10 years in the future, you are a famous athlete. What company do you sign on as a spokesperson for, and what product do you promote?
I want to sign on as a spokesperson for Samsung and support worldwide accessibility to the internet.