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A Visual History of the Countries that Have Dominated Men’s Saber at the Senior World Fencing Championships 1982-2015

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Senior World Fencing Championships

The Senior World Fencing Championships are an annual competition organized by the International Fencing Federation (FIE). Held since 1921, the World Championships are the preeminent international fencing competition, apart from the Olympic Games. The championships are not held every fourth year for individual events coinciding with the Olympic Games. This years Senior World Fencing Championships will be held in Leipzig, Germany between 19th and 26th July, 2017. The schedule for the Championships can be here. We plan to provide a visualization history for each of the six gender-weapons over the next two months, starting with Men’ Saber.

In our visualization, we have drawn a timeline showing rolling five-year total Top 8 results for the dominant saber countries at the Senior World Championships using data from the International Fencing Federation’s (FIE) database. We thought it worthwhile to provide a longitudinal analysis of the comparative performance of the leading saber fencing nations, by tracing the rise and fall of each country’s Top 8 results over time. The undulating ribbons in the accompanying graph highlights the relative performance of the major saber nations, offering deeper insight into how their fortunes  have changed over the past couple of decades.

To overcome the year-by-year gyrations of the Top 8 finishers and provide a smoother short to medium term trend, we have used a rolling five-year Top 8 count of results in the post. The data for 2015, for example, includes the Top 8 results for 2015 and the preceding four years, 2010-2014 (excluding 2012 for the Olympics); 8 results x 5 years = 40 data points. The data for 2014, includes the Top 8 results for 2014 and the preceding four years, 2009-2013, etc.

In this way, short-to-medium term trends are more easily observed. Scroll over the graph below to highlight the comparative data for each country. Only data for the fourteen countries with Top 8 results are provided in the graph. Just over 100 countries have been represented in men’s saber events since 1981-1982.

Men’s Saber

Since 1982, Russia has dominated men’s saber at the Senior World Fencing Championships with 48 Top 8 results, followed by Hungary with 35 Top 8 finishers. The countries are joined by Italy, Germany, and France to round out the Top 5 saber countries, as illustrated in the graph below. Over the past five years or so, Korea has emerged as a major force in the saber world and is tied with Russia with 8 Top 8 results apiece.

Russia, Korea, Hungary, Italy and Germany now make up the Top 5 saber nations at the World Championships. The Top 4 nations of Russia, Hungary, Italy and Germany have captured more or less the same share of Top 8 results over the 30 odd years. Bulgaria, France and Poland have given up ground to Romania and Korea as illustrated by their narrowing bands and cessation in recent years. Scroll over the graph to highlight details.

Since 1982, Team USA has been represented by 38 fencers who have entered the Men’s individual saber event on 98 occasions as listed in the table below. In all, two or 5% of U.S. saber fencers have finished in the Top 8 at the World Championships over the period, with Daryl Homer winning the silver medal in 2015 and Peter Westbrook capturing 8th place in 1989. The Top 8 results represent about 2% of the occasions on which members of Team USA entered the men’s saber event.

The ranking of Team USA Men’s Saber members by the number of Senior World Fencing Championships attended for individual competition is provided in the accompanying table. Keeth Smart is ranked #1 with eight Senior World Fencing Championship appearances over an eleven-year period, 1997-2007. Four saber legends are tied for third place, Daryl Homer, Timothy Morehouse, Ivan Lee and Peter Westbrook, who all represented the U.S. on six occasions. Daryl Homer, the silver medal winner at the Rio Olympics, represented the U.S. between 2009 and 2015. His appearance in Leipzig, Germany in July will elevate his ranking into a sole second place, behind Smart.

Ranking of Team USA Senior Men's Saber Fencers by Number of Senior World Fencing Championships Attended for Individual Competition 1982 to 2015

RankFencerYear 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5Year 6Year 7Year 8
1SMART Keeth19971998199920012002200320062007
2HOMER Daryl*200920102011201320142015
2MOREHOUSE Timothy200520062007200920102011
2LEE Ivan200120022003200520062007
2WESTBROOK Peter198319851987198919901991
6IGOE Benjamin2009201020112014
6WILLIAMS James2006200920102011
6ROGERS Jason2001200320052007
6SPENCER-EL Akhnaten1997199819992002
6MORMANDO Steve1985198719911993
11DERSHWITZ Eli*201320142015
11SPEAR Jeff*201320142015
11RAYNAUD Herby199920012002
11LASKER Terrence199719981999
11LOFTON Michael198719911994
11COTTINGHAM Robert198619871990
11FRIEDBERG Paul198619871990
18STRZALKOWSKI Thomas19941995
18MANDELL David19931994
18FRIEDBERG John19901993
18GLUCKSMAN Joel19831986
22SOUDERS Peter2015
22OCHOCKI Aleksander2013
22CROMPTON Adam2005
22HAGAMEN Timothy2003
22DURKAN Patrick1998
22SUMMERS Jeremy1997
22ANTHONY JR. Donald1995
22COX Peter1995
22D'ASARO Michael1995
22MAGLOIRE Rotchild1993
22RODRIGUEZ Gerards1993
22STOLLMAN David1991
22REOHR Chris1990
22GONZALES Rivas1986
22HOUSE Edgar1983
22LEKACH Stanley1983
22REILLY Philip1983
Source: International Fencing Federation. * Current 2017 Senior World & Zonal Championship Team Member.

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