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Olympic sports

Last Updated: Thursday April 03 2008 11:20 GMT



Fencing is one of only four sports to be included in every modern Olympic Games since the first one back in 1896.

Competitors are well covered with protective clothing, which is a good job as the point of fencing is to hit people with swords.

Those hits are measured electronically and the person with the most hits is the winner.

Three different types of swords are used:

  • Foil - The lightest of the three swords used and the most difficult to use. Points can only be scored by striking the opponent's torso with the tip. Only the attacking fencer can score, unless they miss, in which case the defender can do so.
  • Epee - Only a hit with the very end of the blade can score points, although a hit on the foot scores the same points as one to the face.
  • Sabre - The biggest of the three weapons, and any hit above the waist counts. This discipline is the most aggressive of the three.

Each bout is made up of three, three-minute segments and the fencers compete on an area 14m long and 1.5m wide.