Ashburn Magazine

Ashburn Olympic fencer looks back on his sporting life

It’s one of the first things people notice. Anyone who shakes Ed Donofrio’s hand encounters “The Grip.” When he folds his hand around yours, he has you until he wants to let go.

“My right hand’s bigger than my left,” said Donofrio, spry and energetic for his 72 years. “In fencing, you have to have just the right grip. Not too loose. Not too tight. The rest of you stays loose so you can parry and lunge. But the grip has to be just right.” 


For more than 50 years, Donofrio has been a titan of the sport of fencing. And for all that time, this Olympian, two-time national champion and USA Fencing Hall of Fame member hasn’t gone a day without using that grip.

But these days, his oversized right hand is more likely to clamp down on a leash when his dog wants to chase a squirrel around his Belmont Green neighborhood in Ashburn.

“Her name is Happy and she’s a rescue,” Donofrio said. “She just turned 11 and she gets walked incessantly – probably more than she wants. Dogs are great animals. I just love ’em.”

To read more on how Donofrio first came to the sport of fencing, his amazing rise through the ranks, and his encounter with Mick Jagger at the 1976 Olympics — click here and head over to the Ashburn Magazine website for the full article.