Beauty, Brains, and Talent, she’s got it!
Kamali Thompson is a 14-time national medalist, an internationalist team medalist, and the 2016 National Champion. She was also a member of the 2019 national team and an alternate to the 2021 U.S. women’s saber Olympic team. She has been featured by Forbes, New York Post among other high-profile media outlets.
An overachiever, with hard work and undaunted determination, New Jersey native, Kamali Thompson at just 30 is rewriting the narrative.
One-half of the Fencer siblings, Kamali, team USA fencer at last year’s Tokyo Olympics is proving she’s unstoppable! Apart from doing her thing on the field, she’s also excelling in other endeavors. The athlete has an MBA and just became a doctor, after graduating from Rutgers in the spring. And she’s so not done, Kamali is now a resident in orthopedic surgery at Temple.
Although fencing didn’t draw to her at first as she thought it was “very weird”, she later came to love it. In a chat with Sports Illustrated, Kamali said, she came to love because being unique helps build a certain level of skills that other people wouldn’t have.
She’s never looked back now for a whole 17 years, Thompson has been fencing. “Once you really find what you love and what you’re passionate about, just forget what everyone else is saying. Because if you’re doing something different, people are always going to ask you why you’re doing it. They’re going to doubt you, but if you love it and you’re good at it’s just going to take you far. I’m excited that I’m a fencer.”
Way back at age 12, she was already a high flyer who had started Teaneck High School. As a ballerina, she was looking to join the dance team but it never did happen. Her mom, Avis Bishop Thompson, who works in the legal field, walked into the cafeteria where the fencing team was practicing and that was it, she began fencing during her freshman year, eventually became part of the Temple University fencing team
Thompson started fencing after her coach told her mom that it would be good for her college application to have something different, especially being a Black woman.
“My mom tells you what is going to happen, and there are no ifs, ands or buts about it,” she recalled. “She told me I was going to fence.”
She’s ever so grateful for her parents who taught her to “try hard”. “My parents asked, ‘How much effort are you putting in? We’re expecting A’s in the classroom. We’re not upset if you don’t get A’s, but we are upset if you don’t try’,” she recalled in an interview with Teen Vogue.
Thompson continues growing her passion alongside completing business school and graduating from medical school in 2021. Now, at 30 years old, she is an orthopedic surgery resident, a lifelong dream.
“I always wanted to be a doctor,” she told Teen Vogue. “I couldn’t wait to see my pediatrician. She was an older Black woman and I wanted to be her because she made me feel great. I want to make other kids feel like that.”
Advice to anyone feeling uncertain of their potential?
“Know your self-esteem. You have to find what you’re good at, find what you love. That is going to give you confidence and open many doors for you to make you into the person that you are meant to become.”