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What is the history of fencing?

Fencing is an ancient sport believed to have originated in Egypt in 1200 BC. The first images of fencing included drawings of elite contestants holding sharp objects with handle-like knobs at the end. By the 5th century AD, swords were being refined and the technology was improving. Swords now included duller lengths and sharper tips that decreased the fatality of the sport.

In the 14th and 15th century, fencing became popularized as a tool for military training and the first fencing competition took place in the 15th century. To ensure competitor safety of the sport, the 17th and 18th centuries brought new developments to the sport. The new weapons included flattened tips, the rules for the game were set, and players had to wire a wire, protective mask.

Fencing was historically a sport reserved for the wealthy and continues to be a status sport. With the high cost and low availability of fencing clubs, fencing is most often a sport accessible for upper-class families with access to top-level clubs.

Fencing at the Olympic Games

Fencing was introduced into the Olympic Games in 1896 and it has remained on the Olympic roster since. In 1924, the women’s fencing Games were introduced. Currently, fencing includes men’s and women’s games where the competitors choose from the three weapon-based events. Italian competitor Nedo Nadi has won medals in every Olympic fencing game, setting a historic record that has never been rivaled.

What are the current Olympic fencing events?

The current Olympic fencing events include both men’s and women’s events.

Men’s events include:

  • Epeé Individual

  • Epeé Team

  • Foil Individual

  • Sabre Individual

  • Sabre Team

Women’s events include:

  • Epeé Individual

  • Foil Individual

  • Foil Team

  • Sabre Individual

  • Sabre Team

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