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Jonas Hansen to Represent Team USA at Pan American Olympic Qualifying Tournament, With a Spot at the Olympics on the Line

04/01/2024, 11:45am CDT
By Bryan Wendell

The Harvard senior will compete in men’s epee at a winner-take-all tournament held April 6 in Costa Rica.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — In a sport that crowns Olympians based on their performance over the course of a year, this is the rare winner-takes-all moment.

On Saturday, April 6, Jonas Hansen (LEO Fencing Club, Harvard University) will represent Team USA at the Pan American Olympic Qualifying Tournament in San José, Costa Rica. And there’s a reason that some fans call this the “Hunger Games” tournament: Many will enter, but only one (per weapon) will emerge as an Olympian.

About 12 to 16 competitors are expected per weapon, based on the results from this same competition in 2021, and each of the six winners will represent their countries at the Olympic Games Paris 2024. 

Countries that haven’t already qualified an individual or team for the Olympics in a particular weapon can send one competitor to Costa Rica.

For Team USA, that means we’re only competing in Men’s Epee because we’ve qualified full squads in the other five weapons. 

Who is Jonas Hansen, and how did he earn his spot?

While this tournament is a winner-take-all affair, Hansen didn’t earn his spot overnight. USA Fencing’s selection criteria is entirely points-based, meaning we take the top individual on the men’s epee national senior team point standings. 

Hansen finished atop that list thanks to a consistent season that included two top 16s and a top 32. 

Hansen, 22, is a senior at Harvard University and hails from Cambridge, Mass. And he’s no stranger to big stages, having clinched the 2023 NCAA national championship in men's epee.

How will the tournament work?

Men’s Epee competition will begin at 11 a.m. ET on Saturday, April 6. The tournament is expected to feature approximately 16 competitors, one from each eligible country in the Americas, all vying for Olympic spots. 

The format includes an initial pool round, from which approximately 70% of the fencers will advance to a single-elimination bracket.

The tournament will take place at the Parque de la Paz in San José, offering a picturesque yet competitive backdrop for this high-stakes competition. USA Fencing will offer live updates on our social media channels. Good luck, Jonas!

Tag(s): Updates