Everyone should be watching fencing

By Mike Wise

One, there are swords are involved. Who doesn’t like a good sword fight? Two, the reigning, two-time gold medalist is Mariel Zagunis, whom we met eight years ago when she shocked the world at 19 years old, becoming the first American to win gold in fencing since 1904. Do you even know where the 1904 Games were held? No. You don’t. Don’t even try to Google it.

Italy's Vezzali celebrates defeating Tunisia's Boubakri during their women's Individual Foil quarterfinal fencing competition. (Damir Sagolj/Reuters)

Anyhow, the women’s sabre competition is essentially a civil “Pirates of the Caribbean,” except there are no scurvy wenches — just well put-together, incredibly disciplined women rattling sabres at each other.

Blog interlude: Many people ask, “Why fencing, Wise, when you could have covered anything today at the Olympics?” (Actually, no one asks that. I just made that up to pretend people read me.) And my reply is always, “It’s Tracee Hamilton’s fault.” My columnist colleague at The Post used to be our Olympic editor. While in Athens in 2004, she said, “Hey, the U.S. might get a medal in women’s fencing today?” To which I said, “So?” And she said, “So go.” And I did. And the woman who was supposed to win gold ended up winning bronze for America. But a kid from Beaverton, Ore., who wasn’t even on the team until Nigeria decided not to send a team, ended up winning the whole damn thing. It was awesome. The men’s team tossed her in the air at Athens’ Hellinko sports complex. From that moment on, I’ve loved fencing. I love it so much I’m covering it for the second time in eight years today. Holla.)

Round of 32 about to start. Women waiting to come out with their swords. They’re playing Queen and the place is actually chanting, “We Will Rock You.” It’s packed at the Excel Sports Arena here in London. The women just came out. En guard. It’s on. It’s so on.