Fencing has historically been dominated by Italy and France, the two teams with the most Olympic medals in the sport, but the 2020 Games saw multiple countries start their medal collections with breakthroughs in final bouts.
In the women's events, the United States and Estonia made history while male fencers from Japan brought home their nation's first-ever fencing gold. Russian fencers also brought home the most hardware for the second consecutive games after they collected seven in Rio.
Women's individual events
Sofia Pozdniakova added to her family's Olympic medal haul with a 15-11 victory over teammate Sofya Velikaya in the gold medal bout. Pozdniakova's father was a four-time Olympic champion in fencing, and her sister won a silver in diving at the Beijing Games. France's Manon Brunet defeated Hungarian Anna Marton 15-6 to claim the bronze while none of the three American fencers advanced beyond the quarterfinals.
Sun Yiwen completed her Olympic medal set by winning gold over Romania's Ana Maria Popescu in a sudden-death overtime. The Chinese fencer outscored Popescu 11-10 to claim her nation's lone fencing medal of these Games. Sun also has an individual bronze and a team silver from Rio. Her three medals place her in a tie with Sun Yujie (no relation) for the title of most decorated Chinese Olympic fencer. In the bronze medal match, Estonia's Katrina Lehis won the nation's first-ever Olympic fencing medal.
Before Lee Kiefer defeated reigning Olympic champion Inna Deriglazova 15-13 in Tokyo, no other American had won an individual foil gold. Kiefer took the top spot and earned her first Olympic medal after finishing fifth in London. Her final match was close, but she was particularly dominant in the semifinals when facing Russian Larisa Korobeynikova. Kiefer only needed one period to down the eventual bronze medalist 15-6.
Men's individual events
Hungary's Aron Szilagyi completed a three-peat in the event by defeating Luigi Samele (ITA) 15-7. With gold medals from London and Rio already to his name before his victory in Tokyo, Szilagyi became only the second man to win the same individual Olympic fencing event three times .American Eli Dershwitz did not advance to the quarterfinals after getting knocked out in the Round of 16 by eventual bronze medalist Kim Jung-Hwan (KOR).
In his Olympic debut, Romain Cannone brought another fencing gold back to France by upsetting No. 1 seed Gergely Siklosi (HUN) 15-10. At 24, Cannone is the youngest Frenchman to ever win the event, and he was seeded 23rd. Ukraine's Igor Reiziin beat Italian Andrea Santrelli 15-12 to win bronze, Ukraine's second-ever fencing medal. Americans Curtis McDowald, Jake Hoyle and Yeisser Ramirez all lost in the round of 32.
Only two athletes have won Olympic gold while representing Hong Kong, and Cheung Ka Long is one of them. The 24-year-old used his speed to take down defending champion Daniele Garozzo (ITA) 15-11. Alexander Choupenitch of the Czech Repbulic won the bronze with a 15-8 win over Japan's Shikine Takahiro. Only one American, Nick Itkin, advanced beyond the Round of 32 and was subsequently eliminated in the Round of 16. Alexander Massialas and Gerek Meinhardt lost in their opening bouts.
Women's team events
The Russian Olympic Committee defended its gold from Rio in the women's team sabre event with a 45-41 win over France. Olga Nikitina won the final round of the competition to clinch gold for her team, which also featured Sofya Velikaya and Sofia Pozdniakova. French fencers Manon Brunet, Charlotte Lembach and Cecilia Berder put up an admirable effort but couldn't keep up with the champions. South Korea edged Italy 45-42 for bronze.
There is no Estonian fencer more prolific than Katrina Lehis, who led her team to gold in the team epee event after placing third in the individual competition a few days prior. Her bronze was the first-ever fencing medal for Estonia, and with the help of teammates Julia Beljajeva and Erika Kirpu she brought home the country's first fencing gold. Song Sera, Kang Young Mi and Choi In-jeong of South Korea took home the silver while Italy's team of Rossella Fiamingo, Federica Isola and Mara Navarria downed China 32-21 to claim the bronze. Katharine Holmes, Courtney Hurley and Kelley Hurley made up the U.S. team that finished fifth.
Larisa Korobeynikova, Inna Deriglazova and Marta Martyanova of the Russian Olympic Committee defeated France's quartet of Ysaora Thibus, Anita Blaze, Pauline Ranvier and Astrid Guyart by 45-34 to take gold in the women's team foil competition. Americans Lee Kiefer, Nicole Ross and Sabrina Massialas were no match for Italy's Arianna Errigo, Martina Batini and Alice Volpi in the bronze medal bout. The Italians blew past their opponents with a final collective score of 45-23.
Men's team events
South Korea's road to the top of the podium included a last-minute comeback over Germany in the semifinals, but Kim Jung-Hwan, Oh Sang-Uk and Gu Bon-Gil showed no signs of struggle when facing Italy's Luca Curatoli, Aldo Montano and Enrico Berre' in the gold medal match. The Koreans outscored their opponents 45-26, and Kim and Gu defended their gold medals from the last time the event was contested in London. Team USA, made up of Andrew Mackiewicz, Eli Dershwitz, and Daryl Homer, were eliminated by eventual bronze medalist Hungary in the quarterfinals.
Japan finally struck gold in fencing when Masaru Yamada, Koki Kano and Satoru Uyama collectively defeated the Russian Olympic Committee team that included Sergey Bida, Nikita Glazkov and Pavel Sukhov by a score of 45-36. Japan now has three total Olympic medals in fencing, adding the gold to the individual foil silver from Beijing and a team foil silver from London. South Korean's team of Youngjun Kweon, Sangyoung Park and Jaeho Song defeated the Chinese trio to take bronze.
The American men won their sole fencing medal of the Tokyo Olympics by downing Japan 45-31 in the bronze medal match. Alexander Massialas and Gerek Meinhardt fenced for the entirety of the competition while Race Imboden took Nick Itkin's place during the quarterfinal. In the gold medal match. the French trio of Julien Mertine, Enzo Lefort and Erwann le Pechoux routed the team representing the ROC. Russian fencers Anton Borodachev, Kirill Borodachev and Timur Safin earned the silver after France scored a 45-28 victory to earn gold.