How Did Fencing Originate?
Sword fighting as sport has existed since ancient Egypt, and has been practised in many forms in various cultures since then. Although jousting and tournament combat was a popular sport in the European middle ages, modern FIE fencing owes more to unarmoured duelling forms that evolved from 16th century rapier combat.
The first modern Olympic games featured foil and Sabre fencing for men only. Épée was introduced in 1900. Single stick was featured in the 1904 games. Épée was electrified in the 1936 games, foil in 1956, and sabre in 1988. Early Olympic games featured events for Masters, and until recently fencing was the only Olympic sport that has included professionals.
Women’s foil was first contested in the 1924 Olympic games, and Women’s Épée was only contested for the first time in 1996, although it has been part of the World Championships since 1989. Women’s Sabre made its first appearance in the 1998 World Championships as a demonstration sport, it became part of the Olympics in 2004.