The medal table of the World Fencing Championships: the Italian winners in the past editions

The medal table of the World Fencing Championships: the Italian winners in the past editions

Read fencing, and pronounce Italy. Few sports identify with the tradition of Italian sport like that of the platforms. A mine of podiums at the Olympics (130 medals of which 49 gold), a safe haven (almost) every time the blue fencers approached a World Cup. A new frontier for women too: when they weren't yet participating in the Olympics, six years before the historic gold of Ondina Valla in Berlin, Liège 1930 he won silver in foil Germana Schwaiger. She pioneered a movement that would one day be called Pink Dream Team, and still today she is a candidate for the gold medal in the 2023 edition at Mi.Co. from Milan. And again: in the post-war Italy of smoking rubble there was a national team capable of leaving for Cairo, and conquering the record number of medals at the 1949 World Cup: 11, as in Catania in 2011, in the full splendor of champions such as Montano, Cassarà, Pizzo.

Fencing, a World Cup in Milan that looks like an Olympics: here are which matches the Azzurri can win

by Mattia Chiusano

On the fencing platforms at the World Championships the first signs of an overwhelming phenomenon called Valentina Vezzali. Three years before the Olympic silver in Atlanta '96, and long before the trio of gold Sydney-Athens-Beijing, in the Greek edition of 1994 the future foil dominatrix, then twenty years old, won the silver. Final budget for the future undersecretary for sport in the Draghi government: 16 world championship gold medals, 6 of which are individual. The tip of the iceberg of a movement that has often monopolized the podium: the list is too long, but the list begins in 1930 and ends in 2014. From the foil of Gaudini-Marzi-Guaragnato the female foil of Errigo-Batini-Vezzali in Kazan 2014. In the meantime fencing has evolved, becoming a truly global sport. Four out of five continents provide champions capable of winning a World Cup or an Olympics, and the competition has become tougher. The number of blue gold medals has dwindled, but Italy is always there, overcoming even the worst moments (the 2019 World Cup and the Tokyo Olympics without gold) and re-proposing itself as in the last world championship edition in Cairo, with the two victories in the team foil, plus the 4 silvers (Errigo, Marini women's and men's team epee) and 2 bronzes (Flemishmen's team saber).

Valentina Vezzali's joy for gold at the Beijing Olympics

Valentina Vezzali's joy for the gold medal at the Beijing Olympics

The official figure recognized by the Italian federation is 357 total medals won by the Azzurri at the World Cup, the first edition of which was celebrated in 1921 in Paris. 118 golds, 110 silvers, 129 bronzes. Looking at the statistics, it seems that the Italian teams have an even more successful tradition than the individual champions: in the final, the teams won 64 gold against 46 silver, while the singles took home 54 gold, less than the 64 silver. The most awarded weapon remains the men's foil (104 medals), which brought the first gold in the men's only edition of Budapest 1926 with George Chiavacciand almost a century later has as coach one of the most famous interpreters of the weapon, Stefano Cerioni.

The platforms of the Fencing World Championships in Milan

The platforms of the Fencing World Championships in Milan


A sport of great personalities and numbers, which surpass those of the French, Hungarian, German, Russian-Soviet schools (absent in Milan with the best elements, who belong to the CSKA or Dinamo military clubs). A contained movement, but which radiates in many gymnasiums scattered throughout Italy, relies on strong family and local ties, and has its roots in national identity. In the art of dueling in the Italy of Communes and Signorie, taught by masters who often instructed the musketeers of the King of France, or our future Magyar adversaries.

Behind the lights and jabs of these days in Milan, there will be a lot of Italian soul.

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