Meet the People Behind the Business: Galya Pundyk, Olympian Fencing Studio
En garde, Wilton!
Wilton is now home to two Olympic gold medalists. Joining hometown girl Kristine Lilly is Galya Pundyk, who won her gold medal during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Pundyk has just opened her business, Olympian Fencing Studio, at 388 Danbury Rd./Rte. 7, across from the Goddard School, near Wilton High School. It’s a convenient location for Wilton school students who want to give fencing a try.
Pundyk has been the assistant fencing coach at Yale since the fall of 2016. She has also recruited Sacred Heart University’s head fencing coach, Yuri Molchan, to build the Foil program at the studio.
GOOD Morning Wilton got a chance to talk to Pundyk about her new venture, and what she hopes to bring to Wilton, in our GMW Business Q&A.
Business Name: Olympian Fencing Sudio
Tell us about your business–what you do, what you want people to know about who you are and what your business is:
Galya Pundyk: The Olympian Fencing Studio is a place where kids and adults can learn how to fence from a real Olympic champion. One of our main goals is to help kids earn athletic scholarships to D-1 programs or entry into the Ivy League schools through fencing. Did you know that 35% of high school fencers will be on an NCAA team, while high schoolers of all other sports will have below a 10% chance of playing their sport in college?
How long have you had your business?
GP: Since February 2018.
How long have you had your business in Wilton?
GP: Since February 2018
How did you get into this field?
GP: I started fencing in my hometown in Ukraine when I was a child.
What do you love most about your job?
GP: Generally, I love teaching people how to fence. Specifically, I love the moments when people have the lightbulb go off in their head and they suddenly get whatever it was that I was trying to teach them.
What would people be surprised to learn about you and your business?
GP: That I’m the only Olympic champion in Connecticut and my studio is located right across the street from the Wilton High School.
What was the most memorable work experience you’ve had?
GP: Winning the Olympic gold in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Any funny anecdote/recollection/story from your work?
GP: Working with kids is always entertaining because you never know what they’re about to say or do. One example was when one kid said his fencing glove had magical powers and another kid had a very strong opinion that “Magic isn’t real, except for unicorns.”
What do you love about doing business?
GP: I get to be my own boss and do what I love.
Why did you pick Wilton as the place to open your business?
GP: I love the community. The community, the location and the food.
What do you hope to give your customers?
GP: My knowledge of how to become a champion.
What kind of awards/accolades/brags would you like to share?
GP: 2008 Olympic Games Gold Medalist, 2X World Champion, 4X World Championships Silver, 2X European Champion, 4X European Championships Silver, 3X European Championships Bronze
Anything else you’d like to tell us and GOOD Morning Wilton readers?
GP: If you’ve never tried fencing before, come on in or give me a call, because I think you’ll be surprised how fun it is!
What Wilton business do you like and would recommend to GMW readers?
GP: The Coffee Barn is right next to my studio and it’s got great coffee and snacks. The CT Acupuncture Center helped me a lot to recover from my daily workout routines. The Angels Nail Salon has good workers and a clean facility. Wilton’s Village Market has great food and nice people. Bianco Rosso Wine Bar & Restaurant is classy and has very delicious food! Honestly, I have yet to have a bad experience with any business that I’ve been dealing with in Wilton.
You can try fencing this weekend, Saturday, June 24, at 4 p.m. when Pundyk opens the studio for a free demo.