Fencing is an exercise based on speed and skill. This classic sport brings a certain artistic approach of precision and movement with a rich history dating back to medieval times. There are a total of 10 events on the Rio 2016 program that can be broken up into three categories of weapon:
- Foil (Men’s Individual Foil, Men’s Team Foil, Women’s Individual Foil)
Points are scored in foil by landing the tip of the flexible rectangular blade within the torso area of the body (shoulders to groin, front and back). The arms, neck, head and legs are not part of the target area.
- Épée (Men’s Individual Épée, Men’s Team Épée, Women’s Individual Épée, Women’s Team Épée)
In épée, points are scored only by the tip of the triangular sword. With the largest target area of all the fencing events, points can be scored by placing the tip anywhere on an athlete’s body, including the head and feet.
- Sabre (Men’s Individual Sabre, Women’s Individual Sabre, Women’s Team Sabre)
Points can be scored with the blade’s front edge, the last one-third of its back edge or the tip. The target area is from the bend of the hips (front and back) to the top of the head.
All events are held in direct-elimination format.
In the individual events, the objective of a bout is to score 15 points (one point for every touch) on an opponent before they score 15 points. Bouts are nine minutes long, divided into three 3-minute segments, with a one-minute break between any two segments.
Each team match consists of nine bouts as each of the three fencers on one team faces each of the three fencers on the other team once. The first team to reach 45 points is declared the winner. Each of the nine bouts lasts a maximum of three minutes.
Canada’s Olympic History (Pre-Rio 2016)
Canada has finished fourth in fencing events on two separate occasions. Once in the men’s team épée at Los Angeles 1984 and again in the women’s team épée at Athens 2004. The best individual result was Sherraine Schalm’s ninth place finish in women’s épée at Beijing 2008.