The Americas zone automatically qualifies the top team in four events to the 2012 Olympics.  At the end of the qualifying period which ends March 2012 the top four teams in the FIE point standings plus the top team from each region gets to go to the Olympic Games.

In the Americas zone, the USA is in the hunt for all four of the team events.  At the Pan Americal Zonal Championships this week, the US teams in Men’s Sabre, Men’s Foil, Women’s Foil, and Women’s Epee will look to pick up valuable FIE points to secure their Olympic bids.

In these team events, the countries from this zone earn the same points as from a team world cup, but don’t have to compete against the top European or Asian teams.  The winner gains 64 points to 52 for second place.

Men’s Team Sabre:

The United States sits at 12th in qualifying points and 2nd in the Americas zone behind Canada.  The gap is small – Canada has 71 points to 69 for the USA.  If the US team can repeat last years victory over Canada in the team final, then that sets up the World Championships in October as the next big event.

If the US loses to Canada, then the gap goes from 2 points to 14 and the US will have to score a couple of upsets in future team events to overtake Canada.

Men’s Team Foil:

Team USA sits at 5th in the world in Olympic qualifying points with 60 points.  The next closest regional competitor is Brazil with 37 points.  The 23 point gap looks to be almost impossible to overcome.  It would actually be in the region’s best interest for the US to win here and place very well at the world championships.  If the US can get into the top-4 for teams overall, then the region will get another bid.  If not, then the US should be secure.

Women’s Team Epee:

This could be another US vs. Canada match up.  Team USA is the regional leader sitting at 9th overall with 50 points.  Canada sits at 12th with 38 points.  Canada taking 1st and the US taking 2nd in this next event leaves the countries tied heading to the world championships.  A US win doubles the point lead.  Neither team can afford an early round upset.

Women’s Team Foil

Similar to Women’s Epee, the USA is currently the top team in the region and sits 13 points ahead of Canada.  In the FIE standings the US is 7th overall.  A Canadian win makes this a race, a win by the USA gives the team a comfortable lead heading into the world championships and 2nd half of the qualifying season.