Fencing at the 2020 Tokyo Games will comprise 12 medal events, six for men and six for women:

  • Men’s Individual Foil
  • Men’s Individual Epee
  • Men’s Individual Sabre
  • Men’s Team Foil
  • Men’s Team Epee
  • Men’s Team Sabre
  • Women’s Individual Foil
  • Women’s Individual Epee
  • Women’s Individual Sabre
  • Women’s Team Foil
  • Women’s Team Epee
  • Women’s Team Sabre


The three weapons used in fencing are distinguished as follows:

  • Foil: Flexible blade with max length of 3 feet, 6 inches and max weight of 17 5/8 ounces.
  • Epee: Same length as foil but heavier (approx. 27 1/8 ounces), with a larger hand guard and thicker blade.
  • Sabre: Similar to Epee but about 1 inch shorter.


The scoring system is also different for each weapon:

  • Foil: Points are scored with the tip of the blade, which must land with the torso.
  • Epee: Points are scored with the tip of the blade, but the athlete’s entire body is a valid target area (including head and feet).
  • Sabre: Touches may be executed with the blade’s front edge, the last 1/3 of its back edge, or the tip. The permitted target area is from the hips to the top of the head.


In Olympic fencing, individual events feature direct-elimination tournaments. A bout lasts either nine minutes or until a competitor scores 15 points, which are earned with each touch landed on his/her opponent. If nine minutes elapse and neither fencer has 15 points, the fencer with the most points wins. If the score is tied after nine minutes, an extra minute is added, and the fencer to score first wins; if there is no scoring in the “sudden death” minute, the winner of a draw (held prior to the extra minute) is declared the winner of the bout.

For team events, which also follow a direct-elimination format, nations enter three fencers. A match comprises nine bouts. The first team to reach 45 touches is the winner. Bouts last three minutes or until a fencer accumulates enough touches to reach the next multiple of 5 (5 after the first bout, 10 after the second, etc.). If the ninth bout is completed before either team reaches 45 touches, the team with the most touches is declared the winner. The tie-breaker format is similar to that of the individual event, with the two combatants in the final bout continuing for a “sudden death” minute.


More information:

Tokyo 2020 – Fencing (https://tokyo2020.org/en/games/sport/olympic/fencing/)

USA Fencing (https://www.usafencing.org/)

International Fencing Federation (http://fie.org/)