Rio 2016 fencing hailed as ‘most exhilarating in memory’
RIO DE JANEIRO – The Rio 2016 Olympic fencing competition has been hailed as one of the “most exhilarating in memory” by International Fencing Federation Secretary General Frédéric Pietruszka.
Speaking on the last day of the competition, which saw France win gold in the men’s team epee, the the Secretary General expressed his delight at the quality of the fencing and the sheer drama on display at the Carioca Arena 3.
“London was a hard act to follow,” said the Secretary General, who won men’s team foil gold at the 1980 Games in Moscow. “But the duels we have seen in Rio have been every bit as dramatic: Many of the finals have gone down to the wire and I think it’s no exaggeration to say the Rio 2016 fencing has been one of the most exhilarating in memory.
” Russia topped the unofficial fencing medal table with four gold, one silver and two bronze, the country’s best haul in two decades.
Hungary clinched second place with two gold, one silver and one bronze, while Italy was third with one gold and three silver.
A total of ten sets of medals were won over the course of nine days of competition. It was an event that FIE Sport Director Krisztian Kulcsar spent much of the last three years helping to organise.
“This has been the greatest project of my life,” said Kulcsar, the 2007 world epee champion. “And I’m very proud to say the competition went very smoothly.”
“Our No. 1 goal was to provide the athletes with the ideal conditions in which to compete while putting on a real show for the spectators in the venue and the millions watching around the world. We arrived in Rio knowing London had set the bar high for Olympic fencing, and we leave feeling that we have truly done our sport justice.”
Several VIPs, including Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Hungarian President János Áder, dropped in to support their fencers.
His Royal Highness Albert II, Prince of Monaco, His Excellency Sheikh Saoud Al Thani of Qatar, and American sprinting legend Michael Johnson were also in attendance during the nine days.
Meanwhile, the FIE’s Sport Initiation programme, allowing ticket-holders to give fencing a try under the supervision of coaches, proved very popular. An unofficial count by organisers put the total number of participants at over 3,000. IOC President Thomas Bach took part in the initiative before watching the men’s team foil final on Friday.
Rio 2016 fencing facts:
- No. athletes: 213 No.
- NOCs: 48
- Most medals: Russia (7 - 4 gold)
- New appearances at the Olympics: Ivory Coast and Benin
- Most successful athlete: Yana Egorian (RUS) - 2 gold
- No. countries to win medals: 10 (Russia, Hungary, Italy, France, South Korea, Romania, USA, China, Ukraine, Tunisia)
- No. continents to win medals: 4 (Europe, North America, Asia, Africa)
For more information, visit http://www.fie.org
Links: More on fencing from Olympic.org
Check out the Rio 2016 fencing section
Or the dedicated FIE Rio portal
Photo © Bizzi