Ex-Olympian took Temple fencing from upstart club to national power

PHILADELPHIA -- ABC Owned Television Stations and ABC's Localish present 50 inspiring stories from around the country for Fifty/50, as part of The Walt Disney Company's monumental initiative highlighting the 50th anniversary of the passing of Title IX, the federal civil rights law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in any educational institution that receives federal funding, and gave women the equal opportunity to play. This story was originally published in February 2020.

Nikki Franke has fenced as an All-American collegiate athlete and an Olympian. Now she's leading the Temple Owls fencing to the national stage.

Franke has been leading the Temple University Fencing Team for nearly half a century.


When she went to the college to get her Masters and saw that the men had a team but the women didn't, she sought to make a change.


That was 48 years ago. She's an All American Olympian and two-time national champion herself and has brought everything she has learned to the team. And the results have been great. The team has climbed the ranks, and currently is the fifth-ranked team in the nation.

Dr. Nikki Franke, Head Coach at Temple | Bio