Schalm leads Canada's largest fencing team since 1992
Sherrain Schalm topped the list of nine athletes named Thursday to Canada's Olympic fencing team, the largest since 16 Canadians went to Barcleona in 1992.
Schalm, from Brooks, Alta., is considered Canada's top hope for its first-ever Olympic fencing medal in Beijing. She won the 2006 World Cup title in epee.
"We have high goals, but they're realistic," said high performance director Danek Nowosielski. "We all believe this will be the first Olympics that Canada wins a medal, plus some top fives and top eights."
Edmonton's Jujie Luan, 49, who won a gold medal for China at the 1984 Games, will return to her native country to compete for Canada in foil. Montreal's Wendy Saschenbrecker will go as the substitute in the women's sabre team competition.
Others named to the team Thursday were Josh McGuire of Montreal, Igor Tikhomirov of Toronto, Philippe Beaudry of Montreal, Sandra Sassine of Laval, Que., Olga Ovtchinnikova of Toronto and Julie Cloutier of Repentigny, Que.
The coaches are Gabor Salamon, Jean-Marie Banos and Ildemaro Sanchez.
Only five Canadian fencers went to the 2004 Olympics in Athens, and four competed at the 2000 Games in Sydney.
The best individual result by a Canadian at an Olympics was a 10th-place finish in men's épée by Michel Dessureault at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.
The 2008 Olympic fencing competition runs from Aug. 9-17 at the Fencing Hall at Beijing's National Convention Centre.
With files from the Canadian Press