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From the 16th to the 18th century, duels were common, with combatants using a variety of weapons including quarterstaffs and backswords. Fencing began the move from a form of military training to a sport in either the 14th or 15th century.
Together, these developments ensured the safety of fencing’s participants.With apologies to Sydney, they might just represent a new PB for the Olympics.Olympic closing ceremonies tend to be anti-climactic if festive affairs, punctuated by unruly athletes, the marathon medal ceremony, anthems, a cultural handover and gratuitous speeches.They are best avoided by burnt-out sportswriters at the end of a Games campaign and better left to patriotic home supporters.Swordplay has been practised for thousands of years, as evidenced by carvings depicting fencers found in a temple near Luxor dating from around 1190 BC.Fencing was included for the first time at the 1896 Games in Athens, and has remained on the Olympic programme since then.
The women’s fencing competition entered the Games in 1924 in Paris.
Today, men and women compete in individual and team events, in which three types of weapon are used: foil, epee and sabre.
London 2012 has ended in style as the Brits celebrated a Games of which they have every right to be very proud.
Not only has the competition been astounding but an entire region of east London has been given new life. And on behalf of the Fairfax team in London and Australia, thank you for taking the time to read our writing, watch our videos and take in our photographs.
We've worked around the clock to try and encapsulate the drama, ecstasy and occasional heartbreak of the Games for everyone at home. For me, like a few of these athletes, it's time for a quick pint.
12.05am Fireworks exploding as The Who finish this Games with The Olympics closing ceremony, billed as "the greatest after-party ever", kept the highlights coming as London paid tribute to British music over the past few decades and handed the Olympic flag over to Rio for 2016. These Olympics had Sydney's vibrancy, Athens's panache, Beijing's efficiency, and added British know-how and drollery.