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View Full Version : How important is the Olympics to Foil (and Fencing)



Insipiens
-29th December 2004, 13:33
The ever debatabe changes to the timing in foil (and to a lesser degree sabre) were introduced and justified mostly by reference to the need to make fencing more TV-friendly and thereby help keep (foil) fencing at the Olympics.

Now I am keen that fencing should be a part of the Olympics, but I feel that the sport itself is actually more important to me than its being included in the Olympics.

Many sports are not part of the Olympics and still carry on their merry way without dying because they are not in the Olympics. This could be true also of fencing.

So I thought I would start a thread, and include a poll to get your attention ;)

It is of course biased by my current doom-laden mood (or just depression at all the discussions on changing foil).

John Rohde
-29th December 2004, 13:45
I've voted for change because I think that it is necessary both to keep foil in the Olympics but - more importantly IMHO - because modern foil has ldiminishing imited appeal at the entry level as well.
T.v. coverage etc. isn't important per se but it does bring more people into the sport if they like and understand what they are seeing.

Baldric
-29th December 2004, 13:48
I am somewhat confused by the assumption that Foil must change constantly for years in order to remain in the Olympics.

Has the IOC issued a diktat that I have missed?

Insipiens
-29th December 2004, 14:24
Baldric

A fair point. It seems that the FIE (or M Roch) currently believes this to be the case. It will not admit that foil could not change and still be in the Olympics.

So I have gone with that base assumption. Personally I suspect that there is a strong likelihood that foil at least and possibly all fencing will not be in the Olympics in 24 years time regardless of all the changes being made.

Insipiens
-29th December 2004, 14:28
Originally posted by John Rohde
I've voted for change because I think that it is necessary both to keep foil in the Olympics but - more importantly IMHO - because modern foil has ldiminishing imited appeal at the entry level as well.
T.v. coverage etc. isn't important per se but it does bring more people into the sport if they like and understand what they are seeing.

I disagree on the appeal at the entry level, judging from the increasing numbers of entry level fencers.

I had phrased the question with the intention purely of asking whether people thought any and all change was acceptable if it kept foil fencing in the Olympics. From your answer, I read that you consider the chnage is necessary in order to keep fencing in the Olympics - presumably you also consider that a good thing.

Boo Boo
-29th December 2004, 14:28
Originally posted by Insipiens
Personally I suspect that there is a strong likelihood that foil at least and possibly all fencing will not be in the Olympics in 24 years time regardless of all the changes being made.

Ditto, but not sure if I am just suffering post-christmas depression/pesimism... :(

Boo
(thinks maybe a third option is required - "foil is doomed!")
(looking for good tennis schools for Boo Boo Junior - no, no plans at the moment... ALMOST started some gossip ;) :eek: :tongue: )

Insipiens
-29th December 2004, 14:31
Originally posted by Boo Boo
Ditto, but not sure if I am just suffering post-christmas depression/pesimism... :(

Boo
(thinks maybe a third option is required - "foil is doomed!")
(looking for good tennis schools for Boo Boo Junior - no, no plans at the moment... ALMOST started some gossip ;) :eek: :tongue: )

How do you like the climate in Florida? :)

Your "foil is doomed" option would suggest that without the Olympics foil would not survive. I am not sure I agree; but I was trying to make the second option suggest that and thereby encourage peope to vote for my preferred choice.

I knew I should have phrased it so the answer I wanted was " Yes ".

Baldric
-29th December 2004, 15:12
Originally posted by John Rohde
I've voted for change .... because modern foil has diminishing limited appeal at the entry level as well.
T.v. coverage etc. isn't important per se but it does bring more people into the sport if they like and understand what they are seeing.

Maybe I am missing something, or it is different in different parts of the country, but this is not my experience at all!

The three clubs that I know well, all have waiting lists. Their problems are, in this order:

1) Shortage of coaching time
2) Shortage of physical space
3) Shortage of "loan" equipment
4) Shortage of coaching time (again)

There are a number of people who start fencing, only to drop it again after just a few weeks, but this is because they had what I call "The Errol Flynn Complex" - ie they thought that they would be swinging from chandeliers and slaying dragons.

Others leave fencing because of conflicts with other sports, or because of family or work commitments. They shift away from foil to other weapons because coaches encourage them to, or because their club is "primarily" a sabre or epee club.

I have never met a single person who has given up fencing, or switched weapon because of the way the foil rules are written or interpreted.

John Rohde
-29th December 2004, 15:19
>I have never met a single person who has given up fencing, or >switched weapon because of the way the foil rules are written >or interpreted.

I have. In our club we call the ones that switch, "epeeists" :-)

I do think that foil should changed. It has changed in the past with electrification and more liberal interpretations of the rules and I don't see anything worse per se in changing it more or less in the future. It isn't as if we are doing Classical Fencing at present.

Robert
-29th December 2004, 15:56
Originally posted by Baldric
The three clubs that I know well, all have waiting lists. Their problems are, in this order:

1) Shortage of coaching time
2) Shortage of physical space
3) Shortage of "loan" equipment
4) Shortage of coaching time (again)

...

I have never met a single person who has given up fencing, or switched weapon because of the way the foil rules are written or interpreted.

I agree with the 4 reasons. The timings have no effect on basic entry into the sport (to the extent that I have advised our club not to change any of the timings on our boxes). But they do have a big, big impact at the club -> open transition. The people making that transition are not newbies with a sword-fighting complex, after all they have been fencing in most cases 12 to 24 months and are quite keen on the sport. They are the ones who I find are put off and switch to epee.

Also I think Insipiens is setting up a straw-man. The changes were not introduced to keep foil in the olympics. Yes, that was given as an advantage for the block-out time, and yes it was a consideration. BUT the main reason for the changes was a perception (at both high and low levels) that foil was in some sense 'broken'. I think the changes go some way to fixing that.

Robert

Baldric
-29th December 2004, 15:59
Originally posted by John Rohde

I have. In our club we call the ones that switch, "epeeists" :-)

I do think that foil should changed. It has changed in the past with electrification and more liberal interpretations of the rules and I don't see anything worse per se in changing it more or less in the future. It isn't as if we are doing Classical Fencing at present.

Hi John

I have no objection to the discussion, and I can certainly see no reason why Foil should be "frozen in time" at this, or any other point in it's life.

I was merely questioning your specific argument about foil having "diminishing and limited appeal" at entry level, when all my experience is to the contrary.

If foil has problems at entry level, I think the ones that I highlighted are having far more impact than the RoW and timing rules.

gbm
-29th December 2004, 16:04
I want to fiddle with foil. :o:

Boo Boo
-29th December 2004, 16:09
Originally posted by Insipiens
How do you like the climate in Florida? :)


COULD you make it any more attractive to me??? I could handle Florida, would prefer California, but could live with Florida... :)

Foilling Around
-29th December 2004, 20:09
Most of the people I know who start fencing have no idea that it is an Olympic sport anyway! We have the BBC to thank for that.

The major difference that Olympic status makes is funding from the relevant government and quasi governmental bodies.

It is the excitement and image of the sport that counts. Very few start fencing because thay envisage becoming Olympic champion and very few because they have seen it on the BBC Olympic coverage. James Bond and 'V' videos seem to be far more powerful.

Change foil because it needs changing (due to the over reliance on the flick hit) but NEVER because of the greedy pockets of the IOC and the ignorance of the US TV networks.

Anyway the Yanks are getting better at fencing so our problems with TV companies may be answered. All we need is a realistic US prospect in the Men's and Women's foil and all our worries will be over.

Insipiens
-30th December 2004, 14:56
Do you think it is true in France, Germany or Italy for example that very few are inspired to take up fencing by the thought of being Olympic champion?

Insipiens
-30th December 2004, 14:58
Originally posted by Boo Boo
COULD you make it any more attractive to me??? I could handle Florida, would prefer California, but could live with Florida... :)
I didn't know they were big on tennis coaching centres in California.
Fewer hurricanes though.

wannabe_foilist
-4th January 2005, 13:43
I think that foil should change over the next few years. It would provide new challenges and prevent people getting stuck in there ways, which in turn would increase the standard of our sport. This constant need for adaptation I think could make foil more appealing as a televised sport, as it would decrease predictability. A decresed predictibility might also mean that fencing could become a sport to bet on (also increasing televised appeal)