PROVIDENCE, R.I. – With the XVI Pan Am Games coming to a close on October 30, 2011, Brown fencing coach Atilio Tass can finally return state-side as the Bears look to improve upon at 13th-place finish at last year's NCAA Division I Championship. Coach Tass has been in Guadalajara, Mexico all week at the annual spectacle, serving as the technical director on the bout committee for fencing.
"I am excited to be in the middle of everything that is going on during this prestigious event," remarked Tass. "Equality and fairness are always at the forefront. That is why you fence. To prove that you are the best under the same rules, which we must make sure are all followed."
The games are the largest multi-sport event of the year, with approximately 6,000 athletes from 42 nations participating in 36 sports. Both the Pan American and Parapan American Games are organized by the Guadalajara 2011 Organizing Committee (COPAG). The 2011 Pan American Games are the third Pan Am Games hosted by Mexico (the first country to do so).
The International Fencing Federation (FIE) selected Tass to join the committee as he has over 20 years in the sport, and is not only a respected coach, but a world class competitor.
A native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Tass competed in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and 1980 Olympics in Moscow, as well as six different World Championships from 1985 to 1991, and three Pan American Games. He was the South American Champion in 1980, 1983 and 1986, the Argentinean National Champion in 1983 and 1984, and earned a bronze medal at the 1979 Pan Am Championship.
Tass has been an official referee for the US Fencing Team since 1990 and was selected to referee the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. He was also invited to referee the last six NCAA Championships.
This year was something a little different for Tass, as he did not compete or referee. Tass was directly responsible for almost all aspects of the fencing games, making sure all facets of the event ran smoothly.
"At the games, I serve as a 'problem solver' while overseeing all bouts that take place," said Tass. "The goal is to make sure that fairness always comes first."
This year's Pan Am Games comes directly before this coming year's Olympic games, which makes it even more important.
Tass will return to Brown with furthered experience and knowledge which he can, then in turn, pass on to the plethora of talented Bear fencers in Providence, as they aim for an Ivy Title.