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U.S. Qualifies for Olympics in Men’s Epee

March 21, 2004

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) _ The United States qualified for the Olympics in men’s epee Sunday, thanks to Germany.

Sven Schmid anchored the Germans to a 45-39 victory over Canada in the opening round of the team competition at the Peter Bakonyi Epee International, the last qualifier before Athens.

Even though the United States lost to Italy, 14th-ranked Canada needed to upset third-ranked Germany to keep alive its hopes of erasing the United States’ 11-point lead in the World Cup standings.

It wasn’t until the last of the nine round-robin bouts between German and Canadian fencers that Schmid clinched the win.

``There were some sweaty palms over on our side,″ U.S. coach Paul Soter said.

The United States, ranked 13th in the world, will represent the Americas Zone in Athens. Other countries that have qualified include Egypt, France and Russia.

In the 1996 Olympics, the United States got a spot as the host country but did not qualify in 1992 or 2000. The last U.S. epee medal was a team bronze in 1932, while the last U.S. Olympic fencing medal was a bronze in sabre in 1984.

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