London Spy

Sport guide: Fencing

London Spy

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Fencing is one of the five sports to have featured at every Olympics, although women only competed from 1924.

At the London Games, 10 events will be contested with individual foil, épée and sabre contests for men and women, team foil and sabre for men and team foil and épée for women.

Each individual fencing bout lasts for three rounds of three minutes each. In foil and épée, points are scored by hitting the opponent with the tip of the weapon. In sabre hits can also be scored with the edge of the blade. In épée, both fencers can score points at the same time, but in foil and sabre only one fencer can score a hit at a time.

All the events in London will be over a knock-out format. Individual contests will be won by the highest number of hits during the bout, or the first fencer to reach 15. In team events, three fencers will compete against their opponents over nine bouts with the aim of scoring a maximum 45 hits.

Italy has won the most gold medals for fencing, with 45, six of which were won by Edoardo Mangiarotti in a total of 13 medals between 1936 and 1960, a record for the sport. Nedo Nadi won foil gold for Italy in 1912 and added five more in 1920, missing out only on the individual épée. In the final of the individual sabre he beat his brother Aldo, who still won three golds.

Aladár Gerevich of Hungary won more gold medals than any other fencer, with seven in his total of 10 between 1932 and 1960. His compatriots Rudolf Kárpáti and Pál Kovács each won six golds for sabre. Between 1908 and 1960, Hungary won nine of 11 team sabre gold medals and 10 out of 11 individual sabre titles.

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