Jean-Paul Banos, fencer (born at Lavelanet, France 27 Jan 1961); Jean-Marie Banos, fencer (born at Lavelanet, France 10 Feb 1962) Athletes Jean-Paul Banos and Jean-Marie Banos took part in the SUMMER OLYMPICS and the PAN-AMERICAN GAMES in FENCING.
In the late 1970s and through the 1980s and 1990s, the Spanish name of Banos was on the lips of all who were interested in fencing. It belonged to brothers Jean-Paul and Jean-Marie who gained recognition for Canada in the sabre competitions.
In 1971, the Banos family left Europe to settle in Québec, and after some time in Montréal they moved to Chibougamau. From then on Jean-Paul's destiny became apparent; he would become one of Canada's greatest fencers.
His career began in January 1974 when he enrolled in the Scaramouche Fencing Club led by Egyptian fencing master Henri Sassine, who taught physical education in this remote region of northern Québec. Jean-Paul began fencing at the request of his younger brother Jean-Marie who had been avid about the sport for several months.
Jean-Paul demonstrated great ability and won his share of victories, initially in the Jeux de Québec, then with the national junior team, which he joined in 1977. That year he took part in the World Junior Championships in Vienna, Austria.
In the late 1970s, the brothers settled in Montréal to pursue their studies. Although they no longer lived in Chibougamau, they remained members of the Scaramouche Club and maintained close ties with Sassine. Between study, competitions and training, Jean-Paul and his brother travelled frequently between Montréal and Chibougamau to continue to benefit from the advice and guidance of their coach.
In 1980, Jean-Paul won his first Canadian junior championship and also took the senior championship title. He repeated this dual achievement in 1982, and was the senior Canadian champion on five other occasions between 1983 and 1992.
Jean-Paul competed in four consecutive Summer Olympic Games: Los Angeles (1984), Seoul (1988), Barcelona (1992) and Atlanta (1996).
Although he participated in numerous world championships and world cup events between 1978 and 1996, his greatest success was at the Pan-American Games. In Caracas, in 1983, he won the bronze medal in the solo and team categories. Four years later, in Indianapolis, Jean-Paul Banos won the gold and added the team bronze to his list of victories. Then in Havana, he earned another bronze team medal (1991).
By earning international fame, Jean-Paul Banos contributed to raising the level of Canadian fencing. After placing 16th in the 1982 World Championships, he rose to tenth place in 1993. He was also on the team that ranked sixth in 1991.
Following the 1996 Olympics, Jean-Paul Banos brought his athletic career to an end. Passionate about his sport, he was involved in its development as technical director of the Québec Fencing Federation from 1991 to 1997.
During his career, Jean-Paul faced a particularly tough opponent by competing thousands of times with his brother Jean-Marie. They were both inducted into the QUÉBEC SPORTS HALL OF FAME in 2010. Jean-Paul had been named to the Panthéon de l'escrime québécoise (Quebec Fencing Hall of Fame) in 2002.
At the start of the 1973 school year, Jean-Marie Banos became interested in fencing and registered in classes with fencing master Henri Sassine, who directed the Scaramouche Club in Chibougamau. Keen about his newly discovered sport, Jean-Marie tried to convince his brothers to pursue this discipline, but only Jean-Paul did so.
Jean-Marie demonstrated strong sabre skills, and took part in the Jeux de Québec from 1975 to 1977. Four years later, in 1981, he won both the Canadian junior and senior championship titles. He was again crowned Canadian champion in 1988 and 1991.
In the late 1970s prior to winning his Canadian titles, Jean-Marie had left Chibougamau to study in Montréal. However, despite the distance, Sassine remained his fencing master and during this period there were many trips to Chibougamau for training.
Jean-Marie practised at the Mousquetaires Club's stadium at the Université de Montréal where he obtained a BA in physical education.
During his studies, he did his practical training at the Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf. In 1984, he was able to convince the directors of the college to form a fencing club and continued his training sessions there.
Between 1981 and 1996, Jean-Marie Banos participated in all the major international competitions, including the Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles (1984), Seoul (1988), Barcelona (1992) and Atlanta (1996). In the Pan-American Games, the fencer was on the Canadian team that won the bronze in 1983, 1987 and 1991. In solo sabre, he finished sixth in 1983 and 1995, and garnered the bronze in 1987 and 1991.
Also in 1991, the Canadian sabre team placed sixth in the World Championships. Two years later the Canadian sabre team broke the psychological barrier that seemed to be keeping them from international recognition.
Jean-Marie Banos retired from competition in 1996. He was Head Coach of the national team from 2001 to 2008, which allowed him to take part in two more Olympic Games. He has remained active as a fencing master at Collège Brébeuf.
In 2004, Jean-Marie Banos entered the Panthéon de l'escrime québécoise. Six years later, he was inducted into the QUEBEC SPORTS HALL OF FAME.