Rio 2016: Russia had a hugely successful showing at the Rio Games. The Russians won seven medals, including the gold in men's team foil, women's individual foil, women's individual sabre and women's team sabre. Yana Egorian played a big role in the Russian women's success in her Olympic debut. For the second consecutive Olympics, the U.S. failed to take home a gold medal in fencing, though they did claim two silver and bronze medals.
London, 2012: The London Games saw a shift in dominance as traditionally strong France left empty the piste empty handed. China earned a total of six medals, just one less than Italy who produced the most hardware across all disciplines. The Italians swept the podium in the women's individual foil event. However, three-time defending gold medalist Valentina Vezzali lost in the semifinals and left with bronze. First-time Olympian Elisa Di Francisca won gold against Arianna Errigo with a single touch. The fifth-ranked U.S. women won their first medal in the epee team event, beating out the second seeded Russian team for bronze. The women's individual epee semifinal ended with an hour long protest from South Korea's Shin a Lam due to a controversial decision surrounding the reset of the time clock. Alaaeldin Abouelkassem won Egypt's first fencing medal, a silver, in the individual foil competition. He shared the honor with Venezuela's Ruben Limardo who won gold in individual epee and Norway's Bartosz Piasecki who took silver.
Beijing, 2008: Legendary Italian fencer Valentina Vezzali took home her third straight gold in the foil event. The American women swept the individual sabre competition, with Mariel Zagunis, Sada Jacobson and Becca Ward winning gold, silver and bronze, respectively. The three combined to give the U.S. a bronze in the team sabre event.
Athens, 2004: Women's individual saber made its Olympic debut, and produced an unlikely champion. American fencer Mariel Zagunis, a 19-year-old who did not qualify for the Games, defeated China's Tan Xue, 15-9, for the gold medal. The victory, coupled with Sada Jacobson's bronze, gave the U.S. its first medals in the 80-year history of Olympic women's fencing. Zagunis, whose parent's rowed for the United States at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, was added to the American team two months after its selection by FIE, the sport's international governing body, when Nigeria declined to send its Olympic qualifier.
Sydney, 2000: After avenging a 1996 gold-medal bout loss to Romania's Laura Badea in the semifinals, Italy's Valentina Vezzali -- her hair dyed red on this occasion -- routed Rita Koenig of Germany, 15-5, to win the women's individual foil gold medal. Vezzali dedicated her victory to former instructor Enzo Tricolli, who died a few months before the Atlanta Games.
Traditionally successful France earned a nation-best six fencing medals. But Russia bookends the competition with gold in the men's individual epee (Pavel Kolobkov) and men's team sabre, defeating France on both occasions. Also, Lee Sang-Ki (bronze, men's individual epee) put South Korea on the Olympic fencing medal chart for the first time, shortly before Kim Young-Ho (men's individual foil) earned the nation its first gold in the sport.
Atlanta, 1996: Women's individual and team epee events were introduced into Olympic competition. France's Laura Flessel, who was born in Guadeloupe but moved to Paris as a teen to focus on fencing, defeated countrywoman Valerie Barlois in the individual final. The duo then helpped France win the team epee title as well.
Barcelona, 1992: Giovanna Trillini rallied from the repechage to win gold in women's individual foil, then led Italy to the first of what would be three consecutive Olympic titles in women's team foil. Trillini's total of four career gold medals is unsurpassed in women's fencing.
Seoul, 1988: Behind a sweep of the women's individual foil event, West Germany won more fencing medals in Seoul than any other country (seven). Arnd Schmitt, a 23-year-old dental student, won gold in the men's individual epee with back-to-back, 10-9 victories in the semifinals and final.
Los Angeles, 1984: Dominated for decades by European nations, fencing had its first Olympic medalist from Asia when China's Luan Jujie won gold in women's individual foil. Through 2004, Asian athletes have won a total of nine fencing medals (China 7, South Korea 2). Though absent from the individual men's foil podium for the first time since 1960, France took bronze in the team foil competition to earn its 14th medal in that event at the previous 15 Olympics.
Moscow, 1980: As a member of the Soviet Union's silver-medal winning foil team, Vladimir Lapitsky almost died from wounds suffered during the semifinal match against Poland, when his opponent's foil broke through his protective clothing and penetrated his chest.
Mexico City, 1968: Italy won a medal in the men's team epee competition at every Olympics from 1920 through 1964. But in Mexico City, that streak of success came to an end, as Hungary, the Soviet Union and Poland earned the medals. Italy placed sixth. Winning gold in the 1964 men's individual sabre competition, Tibor Pezsa made it 11 victories at the previous 12 Olympics for Hungary in that event. Hungarians won the individual sabre at every Games from 1908 through 1964, the exception being 1920, when Italian Nedo Nadi prevailed.
Tokyo, 1964: Ildiko Ujlaki-Rejto of Hungary -- who was born deaf -- won the gold medal in the individual foil event. When she began fencing as a teenager, her coaches communicated their instructions to her in writing.
Rome, 1960: Viktor Zhdanovich won the individual foil gold medal and helpped the Soviet Union become the first nation since 1904 other than France or Italy to win the men's team foil event at the Olympics. A women's team event, foil, was added to the program for Rome, and the top four teams were from the same countries as in the men's team foil: USSR, Hungary, Italy and Germany. However, the Hungarian women took silver, while their male counterparts finished fourth. Heidi Schmidt, a 21-year-old music teacher from Germany, won gold in the women's individual foil.
Melbourne, 1956: Hungarian Rudolf Karpati won the sabre competition for his first individual gold medal. Karpati, an eventual six-time Olympic champion, attributed his fencing success to his love of music, because both involve rhythm and timing.
Helsinki, 1952: Brothers Edoardo and Dario Mangiarotti of Italy finished first and second in the individual epee competition. Edoardo, converted by his father into a lefthander so he'd have an advantage in competition, ultimately competed at five Olympics and amassed a fencing-record 13 medals (6 gold, 5 silver and 2 bronze). Dario's career tally: one gold, two silver.
Paris, 1924: Women's fencing was added to the Olympic program, with an individual foil competition. The victor was Denmark's Ellen Osiier, who won all 16 of her bouts, scoring 80 touches and receiving only 34. Ellen's husband was Ivan Osiier, an Olympic fencer whose career spanned 40 years.
Antwerp, 1920: Versatile Italian Nedo Nadi won five of the six fencing competitions at the Games: all three team events, plus individual foil and sabre. Nadi, who won his first Olympic title as an 18-year-old at the Stockholm Games, was a World War I veteran decorated by the Italian government for his courage.
Stockholm, 1912: France boycotted the entire fencing competition after its proposal to include the upper arm as an attackable surface was rejected. The Italians, meanwhile, refused to participate in the epee events after their federation's proposal to lengthen the weapon's blade was denied. In team sabre, Austrian Otto Herschmann added a fencing silver medal to the Olympic bronze he won in 1896 as a swimmer.
London, 1908: Foil fencing was not included as a medal event in London because the organizers felt it wasn't "a form of sport which is improved by competition," according to the official report. Individual foil was included for exhibition only and team foil was off the program completely until 1920.
St. Louis, 1904: American Albert Van Zo Post won five fencing medals in St. Louis, including gold in the "single sticks" event. Through 2004, he remains the only American man ever to win an Olympic gold medal in fencing.
Athens, 1896: Fencing, said to be first contested by Egyptians as far back as 1200 B.C., was among the nine sports on the 1896 Olympic program. The Athens competition drew Greek royalty, including King George I. Foil expert Leon Pyrgos, the son of a former fencing master in the army, became Greece's first gold medalist of the modern Games.