Fencing World Championships - Turin, Italy
by Donald Anthony & Mike Covert
October 2-7, 2006
Part of the swordsport team in on its way to Turin later today to re-launch swordsport.com and continue are work on providing and itegrated platform to bring the world of Fencing to new audiences, sponsors and the passionate Fencing community.
Stay tuned for updates on the trip.
We arrive in Milan Italy at 6:45 AM ready to begin our cross-country trek to Torino just over 80 miles away. It’s a morning to trains, planes, and automobiles, but the journey is uneventful. After checking in at our hotel, we head out for the event. We’re dog tired, but the energy of our surroundings brings us back to life. We start at the U. S. Team tent. The athletes are running in and out. We meet the crew, the team members, coaches, and several other notted celebrities of the sport. We learn that the American sabre team took first, second, and third place! USA! USA! USA!...
We make the obligatory meetings, chit chat for a while, and watch some championship fencing. Later, we head out to a fabulous dinner with the entire team. It was a lavish 12 course Italian dinner in the foothills of the Alps about 30 miles outside of town. In all, day one was long and grueling, but exciting and highly successful. Our bellies are full, our pictures uploaded, our memories committed to keyboard. It’s time for some sleep and then on to day two!
Day two was a rest day, but we did little resting. Most athletes got a day off, except for the wheel-chair athletes which has bouts all day. We had one of those “second day sleeps” after the night before with the US team and headed out just before noon. Torino is a beautiful city and it has been adorned with fencing materials everywhere. We did the obligatory tourist stops, ate some fantastic gelato, and wandered aimlessly through the streets searching for something to spend our disposable income on, and to keep the natives at home that couldn’t make the trip appeased.
On several occasions we ran into a few athletes. It is a strange thing to be half way around the world and to hear someone that you know call out your name, but it happens. Torino has also produced what can only be called “fencing décor” numerous places around the city. Many shop owners have fencing mannequins in their shop windows. Later in the evening we found a large stage in a central piazza, draped in black, that contained three very large epees, sabers, and foils. We assume there will be some type of ceremony here.
Later in the evening we had a rustic dinner at a great little pizzeria and drank way too much grappa. The excitement of this sport requires a little dulling of the senses occasionally. And tomorrow is always another day!
Day three had some very exciting and very disappointing fencing. To start out the US Women’s Foil team took 15th place. The team simply had a rough day. The evening Women’s Foil championship pitted Russia against the home team – Italy. I can still hear the massive crowd chanting EE-TA-LEE, EE-TA-LEE while stomping on the bleachers. One section of school children had apparently been given a reprieve from learning to cheer their team on. But alas, they lost to Russia by a single touch. It was excellent fencing none-the-less.
After this, came the Men’s Epee finals. This pitted France against Spain. It seems that everyone is France’s rival today, but they ended up winning also by a single point, and in v avert dramatic fashion. I will admit that I was happy. I have traveled in France extensively and to me, they were the home team (since the US also didn’t make it this far). We got down onto the competition floor and got some very good pictures and interviews. Afterwards, we again wandered into downtown Torino and stayed out far too late. This thing is winding down quickly. Tomorrow is saber so it’s time for some sleep. Ciao!
Last day. Well, we made it through the week. Yesterday’s day of fencing was exciting like all of the others. We saw the Chinese take the Women’s Epee championship from the French. The French were BADLY beaten, which was unexpected for all and quite to the displeasure of the highly partisan French crowd. However, they had their revenge in Men’s Sabre when the French beat the Ukrainian team.
Although the day isn’t over, the US Women’s Sabre team has just made the top four. This afternoon will prove whether we’re the best in the world. Unfortunately I won’t be able to report on this until we return. Later today will be more planes trains, and automobiles as we reach our final destination in Milan for the return trip home tomorrow.
What a week! This was my first World Cup and I really enjoyed it. We need to help America understand this sport. It is very exciting and made me extremely proud of our team and their coaches. In all, we have had great fencing, camaraderie, food, and entertainment. I think I just might do this again sometime. So that’s it from Torino, Italy. As usually, I can’t wait to get back to the home of the free.