Life on the road for an Olympic fencer is not all thrust and parry. It's also killing time in drab Eastern European hotels with no room service and Soviet-era TV (Law & Order dubbed into Latvian -- sign us up!). Jason Rogers -- part of the U.S. fencing team that nabbed silver in Beijing -- was on one such trip when he had his epiphany.
'Pretty much the only channel that was not Bulgarian, other than CNN, was Fashion TV,' he recalls. 'I found myself watching it for hours.' His viewing habits had consequences, namely a burgeoning modeling career that supplements the not-exactly extravagant wages of a U.S. fencer. 'I want to be part of fashion, and I want to model, and people are going to think what they're going to think, but it makes sense for me,' the 26-year-old says of his decision to follow in the well-oiled footsteps of David Beckham.
Rogers was a 10-year-old skater kid when he first picked up a sword at a friend's suggestion. 'It just sounded cool, and what kid doesn't want to run around being a swashbuckler?' he says. Cue Johnny Depp impressions and jokes about light sabers -- Rogers has heard them all. 'There's definitely a perception that fencing is not a real sport, but we're training twice a day just like all other athletes,' he says. 'There's a lot of footwork and weight-training for the explosive power you need. That's why fencers are known for their glutes.'
Like we need reminding.