Thursday, Jul. 24, 2008

95 & 96. Keeth & Erinn Smart

United States
Age: 30 & 28

The city slickers of the sport, the brother/sister duo from Brooklyn trained at a New York City fencing school that groomed inner-city youth in this elite European sport. Keeth, who became the first U.S. fencer to gain the No. 1 ranking, is back for his third shot at a medal in saber; Erinn fenced in Athens. They've had a heart-breaking year: in May their mother, Liz, died after a two year battle with colon cancer, on the heels of their father's 2005 passing from a sudden heart attack. In mid-March, Keeth contracted a rare blood disorder while fencing in Algeria. He had to take two months off. With all these obstacles, the Smarts are a longshot in China. But they don't bank on fencing for a living. The Smarts are a brainy bunch, as Erinn was a consultant for a financial firm before taking a break for the Games; Keeth is an analyst at Verizon Communications.