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The history of Olympic fencing - the important dates

Fencing is on the Olympic programme since 1896. It is one of only a handful of sports that has appeared in every modern Olympic Games. The sport comprises of three weapons: epee, foil and sabre.
Since 2004, with the introduction of women’s sabre to the Olympic programme, both men and women compete in all three weapons in the individual events.

 

1896 Athens: Fencing is part of the first Olympic Games of the modern times. Thirteen fencers representing four countries participate in the men’s sabre and foil competitions.
 
1900 Paris: Epee becomes an Olympic discipline. 156 fencers from seven countries participate in all three disciplines.
 
1924 Paris: Women’s foil joins the Olympic programme in Paris.
 
1936 Berlin: The electrical apparatus is introduced for epee. Metallic pistes replace the old cork pistes.
 
 

1956 Melbourne:   
      

Foil becomes an electric weapon.
1988 Seoul: The electric sabre is introduced.
 
1996 Atlanta: Women’s epee joins the Olympic programme with individual and team events.
 
2004 Athens: The first women’s individual sabre events. For the first time, men and women compete in all three weapons.
 
2008 Beijing: 212 fencers participate, twelve more than in Athens. For the first time, there is full gender parity.
 

 


To have a look at the general history of fencing, go for example to the pages of the British National Fencing Museum.