Dylan French - Nanjing 2014 Flag Bearer

Canada’s next flag bearer: Dylan French to carry maple leaf at Nanjing 2014

Dylan French is a Cadet World Championships bronze medallist and as of today, Canada’s flag bearer for next month’s Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China.

The 17-year-old won that Worlds bronze in April adding to his Junior Pan Am gold medal from earlier in the year.

french2Although today’s announcement isn’t a victory on the piste, (the name for fencing’s competition surface), it is welcomed by the Richmond native, “I knew I was being nominated but I didn’t really expect to be chosen, it was really a surprise,” said French over the weekend, “It’s really cool.”

He has an unassuming nature, at least over the phone, yet is developing a reputation for his ability with two of fencing’s three weapons. Starting his competitive career with foil, French switched full-time to epee at the beginning of 2014. He’ll compete in the men’s epee event in Nanjing, a U17 event, (cadet), and it will be his last before switching to U20, (junior).


French posing with his Cadet/Junior World Championships bronze medal in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

“I’m hoping for a medal, I know all the other competitors, any one of them can medal at any time,” says French of the competition. Only a few months past his 17th birthday, French has already been all over the world to compete including Russia, Sweden, Bulgaria, England and Croatia.

By August 16th he’ll have added China, in a relatively uncommon fashion, begun by carrying the maple leaf into Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre at the Opening Ceremony.

As for beyond the YOG, French is optimistic. He feels confident his results so far mean good things, pointing to fencers who haven’t had his kind of success yet still made a mark at the senior level, “I want to make a senior national team and get good results at Worlds,” he says, “I definitely want to go to the 2020 Olympics, maybe 2016, it’s kind of a push.”

In any case, leading the 74 other Canadian athletes will be a start, another cool opportunity in an already excellent 2014 for Dylan French.

french5Photos: Canadian Fencing Federation Facebook / Devin Manky Photography