Fencing at the 1908 Summer Olympics

The fencing matches were held during the “main” portion of the Olympics, i.e., while the Stadium events were being contested. However, they were held in tents outside of the Stadium, although nearby, at a site described as “the fencing ground of the Franco-British Exposition.” There were four events: épée for individuals and teams, and sabre for individuals and teams.

No foil events were contested as medal events because the French were still judging foil based on the form of the fencers rather than by the touches actually scored. The British therefore considered it an “artistic” event rather than an “athletic” event. They did however hold a non-medal event in foil as a demonstration event with 22 fencers from 12 countries. It was noteworthy because one of the fencers was Millicent Hathaway Hall, the British women’s foil champion that year, making it a co-ed competition and making her the first woman to compete in a fencing event at an Olympics. Women would not fence again in the Olympics until a women’s foil individual event was added at the 1924 Olympics.

As would be expected, the French dominated the two épée events, sweeping the individual medals, and the Hungarians dominated the sabre, beginning their Olympic dominance in that event.


Event Status Date Participants NOCs
Épée, Individual, Men Olympic 17 – 24 July 1908 85 13
Épée, Team, Men Olympic 20 – 24 July 1908 44 9
Sabre, Individual, Men Olympic 17 – 24 July 1908 76 11
Sabre, Team, Men Olympic 21 – 24 July 1908 35 8
131 (131/0) 14 (14/0)


Event Gold Silver Bronze
Épée, Individual, Men Gaston AlibertFRA Alexandre LippmannFRA Eugène OlivierFRA
Épée, Team, Men FranceFRA Great BritainGBR BelgiumBEL
Sabre, Individual, Men Jenő FuchsHUN Béla ZulawszkyHUN Vilém Goppold z Lobsdorfu, Sr.BOH
Sabre, Team, Men HungaryHUN ItalyITA BohemiaBOH

Medal table

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
France FRA 2 1 1 4
Hungary HUN 2 1 0 3
Great Britain GBR 0 1 0 1
Italy ITA 0 1 0 1
Bohemia BOH 0 0 2 2
Belgium BEL 0 0 1 1