29 Olympics, no medals? No downside. Quebec-led fencing squad hungry for historical past

François Cauchon has had quite a bit on his plate lately — all of it good.

He simply graduated from McGill College with a level in finance. He additionally simply discovered that he’ll be headed to Paris this summer season for the 2024 Olympic Video games.

Oh, and at present’s his birthday.

“It was a surreal feeling actually,” mentioned Cauchon, who simply turned 24. “I believe that for each beginner {and professional} athlete, the Olympics is the holy grail of sports activities.”

Cauchon is amongst 14 fencers that may signify Canada in Paris — the nation’s largest Olympic fencing workforce since 1988. The Montrealer can also be one in every of 5 Quebecers on the squad. Canadian fencers will compete in 5 occasions, a mixture of singles and groups codecs.

Pamela Brind’Amour might be representing Canada within the girls’s sabre singles occasion. (Jay Turnbull/CBC)

Cauchon has been concerned within the sport for about 12 years, and sees his qualification for Canada’s Olympic workforce as “the result of a few years of laborious work, outcomes and toughness,” particularly this previous 12 months.

He mentioned accidents and always being away from his household as a consequence of coaching camps and competitions took a bodily and emotional toll on him. 

“I had tendinitis in my knee, a little bit of again issues as properly. I twisted my ankle. So there have been no main accidents, however simply small accidents that in the long run have an effect on you and particularly in an Olympic 12 months while you wish to be 100 per cent at each competitors,” he mentioned. 

“You attempt to battle via them and likewise come again to your greatest as you had been earlier than the damage.”

Cauchon will compete as a part of Canada’s first Olympic males’s sabre workforce since 1996. Canadian fencers have by no means medalled on the Olympics.

Bouncing again

The 2024 Olympic Video games signify an opportunity at redemption for Pamela Brind’Amour.

The 31-year-old from Saint-Martine, a small city on Montreal’s South Shore, had certified for the 2020 Tokyo Video games however needed to keep house as a consequence of an damage.

She is aware of she’s not one of many favourites within the girls’s sabre singles competitors, however she says she’s going into Paris with excessive expectations.

“My purpose is to win. I do not actually see myself setting a decrease a purpose,” she mentioned. 

Fencers practising.
Pamela Brind’Amour and the remainder of the Canadian workforce are gearing up for Paris. (Jay Turnbull/CBC)

Cauchon says Canada’s workforce has what it takes to interrupt via and make historical past.

“I wish to win a medal with the workforce. That is the number-one precedence,” he mentioned.

“I believe we have now a terrific workforce that is a mixture of actually skilled guys and youthful guys like me. So I believe we have now a real shot at a medal.”

Here’s a full checklist of Canada’s Olympic fencing workforce:

Males’s épée:

  • Nicholas Zhang (Richmond, B.C.)

Males’s foil:

  • Blake Broszus (San Jose, USA)
  • Daniel Gu (Edmonton)
  • Bogdan Hamilton (St. Louis, USA)
  • Maximilien Van Haaster (Montreal)

Ladies’s foil:

  • Sabrina Fang (Vancouver)
  • Jessica Guo (Toronto)
  • Eleanor Harvey (Hamilton)
  • Yunjia Zhang (Toronto)

Males’s sabre:

  • François Cauchon (Montreal)
  • Olivier Desrosiers (Montreal)
  • Shaul Gordon (Richmond, B.C.)
  • Fares Arfa (Laval, Que.)

Ladies’s sabre:

  • Pamela Brind’Amour (Sainte-Martine, Que.)

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