Keeth Smart
Weapon: Sabre
Born: July 29,  1978
Birthplace: Brooklyn, NY
Residence: Brooklyn, NY
Height:  6-foot-0
Weight: 155 lbs.



Erin Smart
Weapon: Foil
Birthplace: Brooklyn, NY
Residence: Brooklyn, NY



Sibling rivalry can help bring out some “sore sports” when it comes  to sports competitions.  Not in the case of Keeth and Erin Smart however.  A  little brother/sister rivalry helped establish confident, world-class champion  fencers.

When Keeth and Erin Smart’s father read an article about fencing  and the Peter Westbrook Foundation, he was sure it would interest his  athletically-gifted kids.  11-year-old Erin started fencing right away.  She  says, “It was something new and different.  I got into it immediately.”  But  12-year-old Keeth wasn’t sold on the idea.  He waited several months to try the  sport... and only did so after witnessing his sister in action.  Once he picked  up the sword, the sibling rivalry kicked in.  Then, he had to catch up with his  little sister whose fencing skills had soared.”Basically, my main motivation  to continue and practice harder was to get better than my sister.  Now, we just  work together.”  And, travel together.  At age 20 and 21, they took part in  their first Olympic Games in Sydney.

Keeth Smart is one of two Americans  who competed in the individual men’s sabre event at the Sydney Games, along with  teammate and longtime friend Akhi Spencer-El.  Smart was ranked number two at  the 1998 and 1999 U.S. Nationals and is a two-time NCAA champion for St. John’s  University in New York.

Erin Smart was an alternate in women’s foil at  the Sydney Games.  She was a member of the USA Junior and Cadet World Team in  1997 and took 5th place at the 1997 World Cadet Championships.  She also won a  bronze medal at the 1997 Junior World Cup in Dourdan, France.


Keeth and  Erin grew up in Flatbush, New York - a heavily Caribbean influenced neighborhood  in Brooklyn.  Their mother is Jamaican and their father is African- American  with family ties to Cameroon.

Both Erin and Keeth admit they are luckier  than a lot of the kids at the Foundation.  They’ve been backed up by a strong  family unit and have attended the best public schools in Brooklyn.  Brother and  sister, alike, say it was the positive environment at their school that helped  them stay clear of the negative influences in their neighborhood.  Keeth says,  “If you have strong parenting, you learn the difference between right and  wrong.”  Case in point: Neither Keeth nor Erin was allowed to fence if their  grades weren’t good.  This is also Peter Westbrook’s golden rule at the  Foundation.

Erin says, “Peter is a role model for me.  He paved the way  for all of us.  If it wasn’t for him I probably wouldn’t be fencing.”  Fencing  also influenced her desire to attend college.  “I didn’t have that many goals  college-wise before fencing.”  Now, Erin attends Barnard, the women’s college of  Columbia University.  Keeth credits the Foundation for many of his academic  achievements.  He’s a senior at St. John’s, attending on a fencing scholarship  and majoring in finance.

Keeth says the Foundation has taught him  something he’ll carry with him for the rest of his life.  By working with the  younger kids at the Foundation and representing the Foundation around the world,  “I learned how to become a better speaker.  That’s one of the greatest traits I  have.  If you speak a certain way, people think of you as ignorant.  It’s a  stereotype and it’s unfortunate, but it’s true.”

Erin was the first  female to rise up the ranks of the Foundation, so she had to break some barriers  and go on tournament trips by herself.  It was hard at first, she says, but she  got used to it and now feels like part of a global fencing community.  “Before  fencing I wasn’t traveling at all.  It’s also made me more  disciplined.”

Typically, fencing has been a white, elitist sport.  In  leaps and bounds, though, The Peter Westbrook Foundation is changing that.  Most  of the kids that join are African-American.  “If I started fencing anywhere  else,” Keeth says, “I might have felt the need to overcome barriers, but since I  started here with the Peter Westbrook Foundation there were so many kids with  similar backgrounds to myself.  It broke down barriers.”

As far as their  future with the Foundation, Keeth pledges to “always help out in some capacity.   The sacrifices people made for us, you have to give back.  That’s the least you  can do.”  Erin thinks she’d like to teach others the sport of fencing  someday.