The U.S. men's epee fencing team poses together after securing qualification for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
The U.S. men’s epee fencing team scored a seventh-place finish, and then some, at this weekend’s world cup in Vancouver, British Columbia.
In upsetting Olympic bronze medalist Hungary to advance to the quarterfinals, the Americans also did enough to clinch a team berth to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. This marks the first time the U.S. has sent a full men’s epee team to the Games since 2004, when the team finished sixth.
Jake Hoyle, Curtis McDowald, Yeisser Ramirez and Soren Thompson combined to lead the ninth-seeded U.S. team past the Czech Republic and then No. 8 Hungary on Sunday before falling to top-seeded France in the quarterfinals. After then falling to Ukraine in the 4th-8th table, the U.S. defeated Spain to claim seventh. In the Olympic qualifying system, the result secured the U.S. a spot as the top team from the Americas.
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The four fencers also took part in the individual competition earlier in the weekend, with Hoyle finishing as the top-ranked American in 50th place.
By qualifying as a team for Tokyo, the U.S. ensures three men’s epee fencers will compete there. Those spots will be filled by the top-ranked men in the USA Fencing standings, with a fourth man also going to Tokyo as an alternate eligible only for the team competition.
With two individual international qualifiers remaining before the U.S. team is announced on April 19, Hoyle, McDowald and Ramirez hold those spots, with Thompson — a 2004 and 2012 Olympian — ranking fourth.
The U.S. reached the round of 16 in the event at the 2019 world championships.
Although men’s epee fencing has been an Olympic sport since 1908, the U.S. men’s team has medaled just once, winning a bronze medal in 1932 in Los Angeles.
Chrös McDougall has covered the Olympic and Paralympic movements for TeamUSA.org since 2009 on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc. He is based in Minneapolis-St. Paul.