Sada Jacobson, 25, Fencer

Real-Life Lessons from Olympic Athletes

When your father and two sisters all fence competitively and your childhood home was littered with piles of masks and sabers, it's hard not to become consumed with the sport. Luckily for Sada Jacobson, one of the top saber fencers in the world, her family also had their priorities straight. "School was always number one," Jacobson says. "My parents knew fencing wasn't going to pay the bills. They encouraged me to get the best possible education so I'd have plenty of options when my athletic career was over." Jacobson earned a degree in history from Yale, and in September she heads to law school. "I think the qualities instilled in me through fencing will translate to the law. Both require flexibility and poise in order to transform conflict," she explains. Jacobson believes in pursuing your passion wholeheartedly, "but even if you put a huge amount of energy into one area of your life, you shouldn't let it keep you from enjoying other things."

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