Fencing has a rich history in the Olympics. It was one of the original sports contested in the inaugural Olympics in 1896, which took place in Athens, Greece. The three primary weapons used in fencing are the foil, the sabre, and the epee. In the 1904 Games in St. Louis, Albert Van Zo Post won five fencing medals, including a gold medal in single-sticks, which was never contested again at the Olympic Games. He remains the only American man ever to win Olympic gold in fencing. The sport of fencing has been consistently dominated at the Olympics by Italy, France, and Hungary.
The first women’s fencing events were introduced at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris. Initially, the only weapon used by women was the foil. However, at the 1996 Atlanta Games, women’s epee was introduced, and women’s sabre joined the program in the 2004 Athens Games. Team USA made history at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo when Lee Kiefer became the first American fencer ever to win an Olympic gold medal in individual foil. Kiefer also holds the distinction of being the first Asian American woman to win a fencing gold medal.
Wheelchair fencing was added to the Paralympic program at the 1960 Rome Games. This sport is a part of the Paralympic Games, which are held every four years.