' Cinema Romantico: An Idea For Making Olympic Fencing More Cinematic

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

An Idea For Making Olympic Fencing More Cinematic

The Games of the XXX Olympiad are upon us and according to their official site there are 302 events scheduled in 26 sports. This includes 10 events in the sport of Fencing. This would be Men’s and Women’s Individual Foil. Men’s and Women’s Individual Epee. Men’s and Women’s Individual Sabre. Men’s and Women’s Team Foil. Men’s Team Sabre. Women’s Team Epee. A “Foil” is a light thrusting weapon. An “Epee” is a heavy thrusting weapon. A “Sabre” is a light cutting and thrusting weapon. In “Foil” the valid target is restricted to the torso. In “Epee” the valid target area covers the entire body. In “Sabre” the valid target area includes almost everything above the waist except for the back of the head and the hands. “Foil” is governed by the rules of right of way……oh, the hell with this! 

I am here today to propose a radical re-working of Olympic Fencing, a surefire plan to drum up interest and increase drama. I make a motion we return the sport of Fencing to its roots – and by roots I, of course, mean the epic duel between Sir Robin of Locksley and Sir Guy of Gisbourne at the end of Michael Curtiz’s exemplary 1938 Technicolor-infused "Adventures of Robin Hood."

Wrong.

Right.

We will pare down the Fencing competition to a mere two events – Men’s and Women’s Individual Sword Fight. These Sword Fights will be contested with a foil but contestants are required to design their own foils. Contestants will forgo protective clothing for traditional 12th century garb. Competition will eliminate the 14 meter long piste (a piste?) for a replica of Nottingham Castle.

Matches begin in the coronation hall, wind their way into the dungeon and and at the three minute mark a candelabra automatically drops from the ceiling forcing the contestants to fence across it. All matches conclude by ascending a spiral staircase. Points are awarded not just for number of “touches” but also for style and quality of quips. Quips are crucial. Each contestant is required to pause twice during the match to initiate a quip which must be met by the second contestant with a retort. (Example: Gisbourne: “Do you know any prayers, my friend?” Robin: “I’ll say one for you.”) Quip Judges for the London Olympics will be Emma Thompson, Tom Stoppard and, of course, Kate Winslet.

Matches conclude atop the spiral staircase where the judge announces the winner at which point the winner “stabs” the loser and the loser throws him or herself off the staircase to cushioning below.

So, what say you, Olympic committee? Doesn’t this sound exciting and new-fangled (while simultaneously being old-fangled)? I thought so. Hop to it.

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