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Andy Shaw interviews Jon Normile and Bill Reith at the 2010 Summer Nationals in Atlanta, Ga.
JON NORMILE, inducted February 18, 2006 (Columbia Athletics Hall of Fame)
They could have called them The Three Musketeers — three Columbia Lions who dominated Ivy League and national collegiate men’s fencing during the late 1980s. Jon Normile was the epeeist, Chris Reohr and Bob Cottingham fenced sabre. Together, they captured four NCAA championships and countless other titles. This year, Jon Normile is the first to enter the Columbia Athletics Hall of Fame.
Normile came out of the Cleveland area and stepped into Columbia fencing immortality. He helped the Lions to four Ivy League championships (1986, 1987, 1988, 1989), making All-Ivy League three times. Columbia won three consecutive NCAA Championships with Normile’s assistance, in 1987, 1988, and 1989 — in each season, he made All-American. He captained the 1989 team.
Normile captured two NCAA men’s epee individual championships, as a junior and senior, winning the IFA men’s epee title his junior year. Following his 1989 graduation with a B.S. in civil engineering, he continued to fence, with great success. He earned a silver medal at the 1991 Pan American Games, and made the U.S. team in the 1992 Olympics. He later qualified for two World Championships, and finished third at an International World Cup event in 1999.
A three-time U.S. National Men’s Epee champion, he helped his New York Athletic Club team to nine U.S. National Epee titles and coached at the NYAC for many years.
Although he no longer competes, Normile stays in touch with the sport by coaching young children. The man they called “The Rock” remembers his years at Columbia fondly, especially “being a member of the Columbia fencing team and enjoying the camaraderie of my teammates.”
Having acquired an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School, he works in risk management at Goldman Sachs and spends some of his spare time surfing, noting that he “[caught] an eight-foot wave at the Jersey Shore during hurricane season.” He also is interested in experimental aviation.The Jersey City, N.J., resident plans to marry this fall.