What does a revolution look like? For American fencing, it just might look like the podiums at the 2018 Fencing World Championships in Wuxi, China.
The results are truly unbelievable. There were so may first time top finishes, best ever performances, and team victories that it’s hard to see the events in Wuxi as anything other than revolutionary. It’s the kind of event that comes out of the blue, but that has in fact been building for many years.
Fencing finishes like never before
July saw fencers from the United States perform like never before, with epee, foil, and sabre all seeing stunning progress in wins, in rank, and in top podium finishes. Though the United States has been building towards this for many years, coming to Wuxi proved to be a seminal moment in fencing as the Americans put it all on the line. It paid off.
Here’s a recap of the wonderful results from the 2018 Fencing World Championships in Wuxi, China.
Individual fencing prowess
- Eli Dershwitz, men’s individual sabre, silver, #1 in the world. Not only did Dershwitz have his best personal result ever, he also managed to take home the silver medal in men’s individual sabre. Oh, and he finished the competition with a #1 world ranking and taking home the overall World Cup, first time in a history!
- Courtney Hurley, women’s individual epee, bronze. Courtney brought home the first ever medal for a women’s epee fencer at the World Fencing Championship.
- Kat Holmes, women’s individual epee, 10th place. Though she didn’t make the podium, Holmes finished with her best ever result and showed up proudly for USA Fencing following up with a brilliant performance in the team event that made a history!
- Anne-Elizabeth Stone, women’s individual sabre, bronze. Stone came home with her best ever result and a bronze medal. Another big win for women’s sabre.
- Curtis McDowald, men’s individual epee, 8th place. Like Holmes, McDowald didn’t make the podium, but he advanced to the top 8! What he did do at his first ever Senior World Championship was to propel himself to be 9th ranked epee fencer in the world, an unbelievable achievement for such a young epee fencer who just moved from juniors two years ago.
- Lee Kiefer and Nzingha Prescod, women’s individual foil, top eight. One quarter of the top eight women’s foilists in the world are American! Not only that, but Nicole Ross is also i the top 16. This season ended with three U.S. Women’s foilists in top 16 in the world ranking.
Team fencing breakthroughs
- Women’s team epee, gold. For the first time ever, the U.S. Women’s epee team made the podium at the Fencing World Championship. Not just the podium though, this fantastic team made it to the top of the podium for a gold medal finish. In fact, the U.S. Women’s epee team finished with a #1 ranking in the world! It’s the highest ranking possible for a fencing team, number one on the podium and in the standings.
- Women’s team foil, gold. Not is this the first ever gold medal for a foil squad from the United States, men or women, it’s also the first time ever that two U.S. teams have won gold at the same World Championships. Now all of the women’s teams have won gold at least once in the World Championship, with sabre having been the first and strongest with three gold medals in 2000, 2005, and 2014.
- Men’s team foil, silver. The United States men’s foil team repeated their success from 2013 and 2017 all the way down the line, including being blocked from the gold by Italy in each of these championships. But this time the US Men’s Foil team finished the season as an overall World Cup winner, ranked #1 in the world, and earned the most podium finishes ever.
Firsts for United States Fencing
- Top 8 finishes in 5 of 6 disciplines, top 16 across the board. America has shown growth and the ability to perform across the board, with top eight finishes in women’s and men’s epee, women and men’s sabre, and women’s foil. The only discipline missing a top eight finish at the World Championship is men’s foil. In every discipline there were top sixteen finishes. This shows the overall fantastic qualify of the American fencing at the highest world level.
- First time to earn 2 Gold medals. Getting to the top of that podium is always the goal, and America made it twice during the Fencing World Championships in 2018! What an incredible accomplishment.
- First time to earn total 6 (!) medals. America has never made it to the podium this many times in the Fencing World Championship. We have seen year over year growth in all weapons, and this year that growth shows at the highest level.
- First time to be #3 in a countries overall medal standing. The United States is seated just behind Italy and Korea, but ahead of two other fencing superpowers – France and Russia. That’s a feat that would have seemed impossible twenty years ago.
- All women’s teams have been World Champions. Another historical fact – all U.S. women’s teams, sabre, foil and epee have earned at least one title of World Champions. Only the U.S. men’s epee team among men’s teams has ever earned this title. The American women have come out in force in 2018.
- First US men’s sabre fencer to win Overall World Cup. Eli Dershwitz continues to make a history for US fencing – he was the first US men’s sabre fencer to win gold at the World Junior Championships in 2015 and now he is the first US men’s sabre fencer to win the Overall World Cup!
Of major significance here is that it’s not just about one medal. We’re seeing every discipline in of USA fencing moving towards a higher level of dominance in the world. Prior to this year, only the U.S. women’s sabre fencers challenged for the world’s top placements with any level of consistency, followed by the men’s epee team and foil. With the 2018 Fencing World Championship, we’ve seen every gender, every discipline, individual and team perform consummately on the world stage.
Gone are the years with American fencing sat as a footnote in world class fencing. Today the United States is challenging the top fencers in the world, consistently and with dynamic results. We can only imagine where these great fencers and their coaches will go in the future! One to be proud of!
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