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Jason Pryor Qualifies for Rio Olympic Games

03/18/2016, 8:30pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Jason Pryor. Photo Credit: Devin Manky.

Jason Pryor qualified for his first Olympic Team at the Budapest Grand Prix. Photo Credit: Devin Manky

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – The years of training and traveling on the World Cup circuit all proved to be worth it for 28-year-old Jason Pryor (South Euclid, Ohio) who made his Olympic dream come true when he qualified for the Rio de Janeiro Games on Friday at the Budapest Grand Prix.  

A graduate of Ohio State in 2009, Pryor later moved from Ohio to Colorado Springs to train full time at the U.S. Olympic Training Center and recently relocated to New York City to train during the leadup to Rio.

Since the qualification period began at the Pan American Championships in April of last year, Pryor has earned a career-best three top-32 finishes on the World Cup circuit, including a 32nd place result at the Doha Grand Prix where he upset World No. 1 Gauthier Grumier (FRA).

The U.S. Men’s Epee Team faced great disappointment in February, however, when the squad fell short of qualification as a group and Team USA’s fencers would be forced to battle for a single position in Rio. Individual qualification remained possible for any single fencer who could earn a position as one of the top two fencers from the Pan American Zone in the world rankings from a nation that had not already qualified a team.

Pryor began the Budapest Grand Prix in Hungary on Friday as one of 10 U.S. men’s epee fencers aiming to qualify for their first Olympic Games. By the end of the preliminary rounds, he had secured his position representing Team USA.

As Venezuela qualified a team in February, Pryor found himself in contention against athletes from the United States, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, Chile and Argentina among others and was ranked No. 1 on the list at the start of the competition. More than a dozen competitors aimed to pass him, however, and secure the berth to Rio, including 2012 World Team Champion Ben Bratton (New York City, N.Y.) and 2015 Senior World Team member Yeisser Ramirez (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

In the pool rounds, Pryor finished 5-1 and Pan Am silver medalist Maxime Brinck-Croteau (CAN) finished 6-0. The Canadian would advance directly to the table of 64, nearly securing himself a position in the top two.

Ramirez was eliminated after the pool rounds and Bratton lost to Adrian Pop (ROU), 15-11.

With the pressure on, Pryor followed his bye through the preliminary table of 256 with a pair of 15-7 wins against Nadirbek Usmanov (UZB) and Keisuke Sakamoto (JPN).

Pryor joined Brinck-Croteau as being one of just two athletes from the Pan American region to qualify for the table of 64 which will be held on Saturday in Budapest.

Pryor is one of 13 athletes who have mathematically qualified for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Fencing Team. All 17 athletes will be nominated to the team in April. All athletes are subject to approval by the U.S. Olympic Committee. 

Competition at the Budapest Epee Grand Prix will continue on Saturday where the the women will begin the preliminary rounds. The men's and women's table of 64 will be held on Sunday. 

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