There are few things left to be said about Peter Joppich that has not already been written countless times by the media. Four times Individual World Foil Champion - five times if you count his win for Team Germany - Peter is already a legend in our world of fencing. Not forgetting his Bronze medal at the Olympics for Team Germany too. But perhaps there is one thing that has not been quite covered - and that is his capacity to love and to be loved. Our founder, T.K. Wong tells us more in this journal entry.
Over dinner one evening with Peter, I came to learn he did not drink wine, or any alcohol for that matter. Through the years, I had come to know that Peter was very disciplined about what he ate, and that he took great care of his physical health, just like how most top elite sportsmen would. But, this new relevation hit home like no other, he was a real professional - serious about sacrificing everything for his profession.
Now we all know of elite fencers who would say some alcohol is harmless, and others who even claim that being mildly inebriated actually helped them fence better! But for Peter, it was all business. To be at the pinnacle for as long as he has, and to win the german, european and world championships so many times at that - took a different level of discipline. Peter got that one down.
If you know Peter, you would also know the woman of his life, Ina Marceline. She has always been there for Peter wherever he fences, in mind, body and spirit.
It's wonderful to see such a loving couple manage and harmonise through such a tough schedule as Peter had - one that almost requires total selfishness by the athlete. But they make time for each other, for each other's loves and needs, and they have made it work for over 10 years now.
Ina, a former competitive rhythmic gymnast herself, loves the sunny, easy-going and glam LA lifestyle. They make it a point to always spend some time there - almost their second home away from Koblenz, Germany, where Peter lives and trains in nearby Bonn Olympic Center. Ina works as an events planner there for a state sponsored organisation. But supporting Peter's golden fencing career is love #1.
And I think its this ability to love, is what makes Peter, Peter Joppich.
You see, Peter, who is 33 years of age, has sustained a high level of fencing performance for over a decade. He won his first world champ title when he was just 21 years of age - over 12 years ago, in Havana 2003. He goes on to win a total of 4 Individual World Champ titles and one Team title. Picking up fencing at the age of 5, and recognised by all to be the hardest worker when it comes to training, the man has got to really love doing what he is doing, to have done it, and to do it well - for this long.
In life, as in fencing, you need to be able to love yourself, love what you do, and love the people around you to be as successful as Peter has.Credit is due to his long time coach Uli Schreck - but again - its showing how you need to have that special love to work so long together. In fact, Peter always credits his entire team - coach, physiotherapist, nutritionist, trainer, and of course in more ways than one - Ina, for all his success.
"Ein goldenes haendchen haben"
When we were discussing with Peter and Ina on the naming of the Golden Zsteel glove, they shared with us a German adage "ein goldenes haendchen haben" that resonated with them, meaning in English literally "someone with a golden hand or gift", or "doing the right thing at the right moment".
Clearly, that felt like Peter to us. He has nerves of steel when it comes down to fighting for the final victory point. More often that not, if put in a 14-14 final point position, Peter wins that final touch. I have witnessed that myself in a match. He did the same against Baldini for the world champ title in Turin 2006.
For these reasons,we decided to christen this special glove inspired by Peter, the "Golden Zsteel". Like the car brand that he loves best, Porsche, he is engineered to win as a habit. 4 golden stars for his Individual Titles and the German Golden Eagle proudly taking its place in the center of the glove.
Peter has been using and testing the Golden ZSTEEL since last July 2015. He loves the glove and when he first saw it and wore it, exclaimed " I have never seen a glove like this, I like it!" For his fans and those who identify with the values that Peter brings to the piste and off the piste, you can pre-order your very own at zzuma.co website.
As Peter gears up for the Olympics in Rio this August, we are certainly rooting for him to do something magical and "goldenes", as this will likely be his last Olympics. Whatever the result may be, we know this man of ZSTEEL has already been golden to all of us in the fencing world. As the German adage says, he will do the right thing at the right moment!
As he had said in another earlier media interview, he hopes his accomplishments and who he is, will not just be defined by his performance in fencing. We are very sure there is more to come from Peter after his fencing career.
For now, we just like to let you into a little secret - Ina is now expecting in the last week of June, a baby girl. Their love will soon birth a golden child of their beautiful union. We wish and pray for a safe delivery for both mummy and child, as Peter revs up for another European Champ title, and then onwards to the Olympics.
Many reasons have been attributed for Peter's spectacular success. They are all true. But I think the main ingredient has been his ability to love and be loved - something so fundamental - and yet truly powerful. For this, we believe Love is Golden.