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Rising sophomore for Penn fencing, Blake Broszus, will serve as the traveling alternate for the Canadian men's foil team in Tokyo for the Olympics Games. (Photo from Canadian Fencing Federation)

Blake Broszus, who is currently a rising sophomore for Penn fencing, will be in Tokyo for the Olympic Games, as he will serve as the traveling alternate for the Canadian men’s foil team.

Whether or not Broszus ends up competing on the Olympic stage depends on the status of the three starters on the men’s foil team. With COVID-19 starting to spread amongst the athletes at the Games and injuries always a possibility, it remains very conceivable that Broszus could see some competition time.

“The thing I'm most excited for is to create an unforgettable experience competing side by side with my teammates against the best of the best,” Broszus said via the Canadian Fencing Federation. “I can’t wait to show what we’re made of on the Olympic stage.”

Of the three who will start, two will be making their Olympic debuts, though each of them have experience on the international stage.

Broszus has international experience as well, having earned a bronze medal at the 2019 Pan American Championships in the junior men’s foil and a 12th-place finish at the 2020 World Cup in the same event.

At the Olympics, the men’s foil team event will consist of team matches that include nine bouts, with each team’s fencers going against each of the other team’s fencers once. The bouts themselves go for a maximum of three minutes, and the first team to score 45 points is declared the winner.

In order to score points, the competitors must land “the tip of the flexible rectangular blade within the torso area of the opponent’s body (shoulders to groin, front and back).”

The foil itself is a “light, thrusting sword,” as opposed to the épée, which is “slightly heavier and more tapered than the foil,” and the sabre, which was originally a military sword.

For the first time since 1988, both the Canadian men’s and women’s foil teams qualified for the Games, which contributes to Canada having its largest Olympic fencing team since 2008 in Beijing.

Joining Broszus on Team Canada is former Quaker Shaul Gordon, who will be competing in the individual men’s sabre event.

Gordon, who graduated from Penn in 2016, qualified for the Games by virtue of his standing in the FIE world rankings.

The Olympic Games will begin on July 21 and run through August 8, with the fencing events occurring from July 24-August 1. Specifically, the men’s foil team event is set to take place on August 1.

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