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Sports

Volume 65 Number 5

Jonathan Lin: The Sword Master

by Olivia Powell - 2015-03-19

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Jonathan Lin is not your typical Chadwick athlete. A product of a relatively unusual sport, the sophomore recently competed in the 2015 Junior Olympic Fencing Championships in Richmond, Va., participating as one of the top 239 fencers in the United States.

Lin has been fencing for a little more than two years, practicing every day after school for two to three hours. This year was the third year he attempted to qualify for Junior Olympics, but his first time securing a spot in the competition--a source of pride for the Chadwick community. Lin even received a shout-out from Athletic Director Tom Goodspeed in the weekly athletics update.

The fencing Junior Olympics is a series of national tournaments separated by age division: cadets, juniors and regular Division I, II and III athletes. The tournaments are further separated by the type of fencing each athlete participates in--foil, sabre and epee.

Lin explains that one can only qualify for the event by accumulating “cadet points,” which come from winning regular tournaments, or by placing in the top three of a division’s Junior Olympic Qualifier.

Lin has tried to qualify for the Junior Olympics for as long as he has competed, but he had a rough start his first year.

“My first time qualifying for Junior Olympics, I was really new to the sport,” he says. “I didn’t really know what was going on. I didn’t even know what I was qualifying for!”

But Lin persisted, and returned the next year with a better idea of what he needed to do. “I much better understood the game, but I was not good enough to secure one of the top three spots in the competition,” he said.

This year, Lin went into the cadet foil competition determined to qualify in any way he could.

“I got fourth in the qualifying tournament, one point away from getting third and securing a bid,” he said.

Lin continued to persevere, and qualified via divisional auto-qualifiers, which remain a separate event.

As he headed into the huge national event in mid-February, Lin was very excited. “It felt great to be going to Junior Olympics!” he said.

Lin did not hold high expectations for himself. Initially, there were 239 competitors, though some were disqualified before the final results were announced.

Of these qualifiers, Lin considered 60 to be “top tier” fencers, meaning that they often attend both national and international tournaments and place highly.

“I knew my chances of getting a high ranking were not very likely,” Lin said.

“That being said, I was not nervous. I just wondered what place I would get.”

During his first appearance at Junior Olympics, Lin competed hard but still came out behind many other great fencers. He tied for 213th out of 232 entrants.

But Lin has a positive outlook on his experience, and high hopes for his next attempt in the Junior Olympics in 2016.

“Considering that I was slaughtered by some of the nation’s best, I do not really feel too bad about my result. I only wish that I had done a little bit better,” Lin said.

“Next year, I hope that I can improve on my skills and place higher.”


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lin, junior, olympic, fencing, top, year, qualify, even, tournament


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