Fencing at the 2004 Summer Olympics

Dates 14 – 22 August 2004
Medal Events 10

Ten events were contested at Athens, the same number as in Sydney, but the introduction of the women’s individual sabre necessitated the introduction of a rotation system for team events. The two classes to miss out in 2004 were the women’s sabre and the women’s foil. Although the traditional superpowers of France and Italy were again the most successful nations with three gold medals each, the anthems of 6 different countries were heard in Athens. Switzerland produced an Olympic champion for the first time whilst the US won gold for the first time in a century. Marcel Fischer won the men’s epee for the Swiss team and American Mariel Zagunis was women’s sabre champion. Both nations had been competing in the sport at Olympic level since the first day of fencing competition at the Paris Games of 1900 and, by odd coincidence, Fischer and Zagunis both won their gold medals on the 17th of August. Zagunis’s triumph was arguably one of the fairy tale stories of the entire Games. The daughter of two Olympic rowers, the teenager originally missed out on qualification by a single world ranking place but when Nigeria opted not to send their prospective entrant she was belatedly called up to the US team. Suffice to say she made the utmost of her opportunity. There were no multiple gold medallists in Athens with the most successful fencer being Aldo Montano, a third generation Olympic medallist, with individual gold and team silver at sabre.


Event Status Date Participants NOCs
Foil, Individual, Men Olympic 16 August 2004 36 20
Foil, Team, Men Olympic 21 August 2004 30 8
Épée, Individual, Men Olympic 17 August 2004 37 21
Épée, Team, Men Olympic 22 August 2004 30 8
Sabre, Individual, Men Olympic 14 August 2004 39 21
Sabre, Team, Men Olympic 19 August 2004 32 9
Foil, Individual, Women Olympic 18 August 2004 25 20
Épée, Individual, Women Olympic 15 August 2004 38 20
Épée, Team, Women Olympic 20 August 2004 32 9
Sabre, Individual, Women Olympic 17 August 2004 24 19
222 (129/93) 42 (34/31)


Event Gold Silver Bronze
Foil, Individual, Men Brice GuyartFRA Salvatore SanzoITA Andrea CassaràITA
Foil, Team, Men ItalyITA People's Republic of ChinaCHN Russian FederationRUS
Épée, Individual, Men Marcel FischerSUI Wang LeiCHN Pavel KolobkovRUS
Épée, Team, Men FranceFRA HungaryHUN GermanyGER
Sabre, Individual, Men Aldo MontanoITA Zsolt NemcsikHUN Vladyslav TretiakUKR
Sabre, Team, Men FranceFRA ItalyITA Russian FederationRUS
Foil, Individual, Women Valentina VezzaliITA Giovanna TrilliniITA Sylwia GruchałaPOL
Épée, Individual, Women Tímea NagyHUN Laura Flessel-ColovicFRA Maureen NisimaFRA
Épée, Team, Women Russian FederationRUS GermanyGER FranceFRA
Sabre, Individual, Women Mariel ZagunisUSA Tan XueCHN Sada JacobsonUSA

Medal table

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
Italy ITA 3 3 1 7
France FRA 3 1 2 6
Hungary HUN 1 2 0 3
Russian Federation RUS 1 0 3 4
United States USA 1 0 1 2
Switzerland SUI 1 0 0 1
People's Republic of China CHN 0 3 0 3
Germany GER 0 1 1 2
Poland POL 0 0 1 1
Ukraine UKR 0 0 1 1