Fencing has been an Olympic sport since 1896,
the beginning of the modern games. In the
beginning France was very dominate in the sport then the Hungarians had a 50-year dominance streak.
In the Olympics athletes compete in individual and team events.
They have three fencing weapons the foli, eepe, and saber.
They face each other one-on-one in combat.
The first person to score 15 points winning each bout, which is a three minute long
dulling cession, wins the match. In a team
competition the first team to 45 points wins.
Fencing is one of the few Olympic sports
that include weapons. The three swords used in the sport each have a different strategy.
The foli, a type of sword, is descended from the 18th
century small sword. The foli has a
small flexible blade with a square cross-section.
To score a point by using a foli you must hit their opponent in the torso
with the point of the sword.
The epee sword is similar to the dueling sword of
the mid 19th century. They
have stiff blades with a triangular cross-section.
With an epee double hits are possible.
To score a point with an epee you must hit your opponent anywhere on
their body with the tip of the sword.
The sabre descended from navel swords of the
late 19th centaury. Sabre has a
light, flat blade, and has a knuckle guard.
This attack emphases speed and a strong offense.
To score using a saber you must hit your opponent in the upper half of
their body with the tip and the edges of the blade.
To determine when a person is hit judges use
electronic wires. The wires are attached to the tip or the side of the blade.
When a person is hit a light lights up.
Fencers were protective gear that is
required for the sport. They wear a mask and clothing to prevent injury.
The gear is not always fail-safe though.
In the 1982 world championships, Vladimir Smirnov, the gold medalist in
foli, was killed by a sword when his mask failed to protect his face.
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