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A Visual History of Which Countries Have Dominated Men’s & Women’s Epee at the Cadet & Junior World Championships

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The Cadet and Junior World Fencing Championships is an annual competition organized by the International Fencing Federation (FIE). The Junior World Championships and Cadet World Championships began in 1950 and 1987 respectively and were held in different locations at different times of the year. Beginning in 1993 in Denver, CO, the Junior and Cadet World Championships were combined and held at the same venue. The cadet events are held first, followed by the junior events.

In our visualization, we have drawn a timeline showing rolling five-year Top 8 results for the dominant epee countries at the Cadet and Junior 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 US fencers and the leading epee fencing nations of the world, by tracing the rise and fall of each country’s Top 8 results over time. The undulating ribbons in the accompanying graphs highlight the relative performance of the major epee nations, offering deeper insight into how the Cadet and Junior World Championships have changed as they have grown 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 total Top 8 count in the post. The data for 2010, for example, includes the Top 8 results for 2010 and the preceding four years, 2006-2009; 8 results x 5 years = 40 data points. The data for 2011, includes the Top 8 results for 2011 and the preceding four years, 2007-2010, etc. In this way, short-to-medium term trends are more easily observed. Scroll over the graphs below to highlight the comparative data for each country. Only data for the top epee fencing countries are provided in the graphs.

For an excellent visualization of the countries that have dominated fencing at the Summer Olympic Games since 1896, check out the article at the New York Times. (Scroll down half the page). Further details on the history of the Cadet and Junior World Championships can be found here. A similar post as this has been uploaded for foil and saber

Men’s Epee

Since 1987, Germany and Italy have dominated cadet men’s epee at the Cadet and Junior World Championships with 30 and 28 Top 8 results respectively, followed by France, Hungary, and Poland to round out the Top 5 cadet men’s epee countries, as illustrated in the graph below. Over the past five years, however, Germany, and France have given up ground to the USA and Korea as illustrated by the narrowing bands in the graph. Italy, Hungary, USA, Korea, and Poland now make up the Top 5 cadet men’s epee nations. Scroll over the graph to highlight details.

In all, 9 or 13% of US cadet men epee fencers have finished in the Top 8 at the Cadet World Championships since 1987. Two of the nine, won gold, Ariel Simmons in 2013 and Graham Wicas in 2006. Justin Yoo won silver in 2014 and Benjamin Bratton, Alexander Eldeib, Jake Raynis and Adrien Thein-Sandler won bronze in 2002, 2012, 2013 and 2016 respectively.

Italy, Russia, and France have been the powerhouse epee nations in junior men’s epee since 1987 with only three Top 8 results separating them, 31, 29 and 27. They are joined by Hungary and China with 20 and 16 Top 8 results respectively, to make the Top 5 junior men’s epee nations as illustrated in the accompanying graph below. Over the past five years, Spain and Korea have muscled their way into the Top 5 nations, edging out Russia and France.

 

In all, seven or 11% of US junior epee fencers have finished with a Top 8 result at the Junior World Championships since 1987. Notable US epee fencers with Podium results include Graham Wicas, (silver in 2007), Benjamin Ungar (bronze in 2006) and Justin Yoo, ( bronze in 2014).

Women’s Epee

Italy sits atop the leaderboard in cadet women’s epee at the Cadet & Junior  World Championships with 27 Top 8 results since 1987.  Italy is joined by Germany, Hungary, Poland and the USA to make the Top 5 cadet women’s epee nations as illustrated in the accompanying graph below. (Poland and the USA are tied for 4th place).  However, Hungary, Germany and Poland’s dominance has slipped over the past decade as illustrated by the drop in and narrowing of their results bands in the graph. These countries have given up ground to the USA, Sweden, and Israel in recent years. Scroll over the graph to highlight details.

Andrea Ament is the top US cadet women epee fencer at the Cadet World Championships, with three Top 8 results, bronze in 1994 and 1999, and a 6th place in 1998. The runner-up is Katharine Holmes, who won silver in 2009 and a 5th place in 2010. Other Podium medal winners were Keri Byerts, bronze in 2004, Courtney Hurley, gold in 2006, Kelley Hurley, gold in 2005, Catherine Nixon, bronze in 2014, Jessie Radanovich, bronze in 2012 and Tatijana Stewart, a silver in 2016. 

In all, 13 or 25% of US cadet women epee fencers have finished in the Top 8 at the Cadet World Championships since 1990.

Russia sits atop the junior women’s epee leaderboard with 30 Top 8 finishers won at the Junior World Championships since 1989.  The runners up include Italy, Hungary, China, and Germany with 24, 21, 20 and 16 Top 8 results respectively. Germany, Hungary, and Korea have given up considerable ground to  Russia, China, Israel and Estonia in recent years. Russia, China, Italy, Israel, Hungary, and Estonia make up the current Top 5 epee nations (Hungary and Estonia are tied for 5th place.

 

The late Kama James is the only US women epee fencer to finish in the Top 8 at two Junior World Championships, a bronze in 2003 and a 5th place in 2004. 

Three other Americans added Podium medals to the total US count: Jessica Burke, bronze in 1999, Kelley Hurley, gold in 2008 and Kerry Walton, bronze in 2002.  In all, nine or 22% of US junior women epee fencers have finished in the Top 8 at the Junior World Championships since 1989.

Ranking of Countries by Top 8 Results in Women's & Men's Epee at the Cadet & Junior World Championships 1987-2016

CountryCadet Women's EpeeCadet Men's EpeeJunior Women's EpeeJunior Men's EpeeTotal
Total216240224240920
Italy27282431110
Russia1513302987
Germany2430161585
Hungary1721212079
France1021122770
Poland161313951
China71201644
USA16910742
Korea10814537
Ukraine51281136
Switzerland68101135
Sweden10109433
Romania967628
Israel967325
Estonia841224
Canada481417
Spain42713
Norway24612
Austria33219
Czech Republic459
Great Britain3339
Venezuela4228
Cuba1315
Egypt325
Japan11125
Belarus2114
Netherlands314
Australia123
Chile1113
Finland123
Kazakhstan213
Argentina112
Croatia22
Denmark22
Kuwait22
Serbia22
Belgium11
Brazil11
Bulgaria11
Georgia11
Greece11
Latvia11
Libya11
Lithuania11
Portugal11
Puerto Rico11
Slovenia11
Slovakia11
Source: International Fencing Federation. Data for cadet and junior men's epee includes 1987 through 2016, for cadet women's epee 1990 through 2016 and junior women's epee 1989 through 2016.

Ranking of Countries by Top 8 Results in Women's & Men's Epee at the Cadet & Junior World Championships 2012-2016

CountryCadet Women's EpeeCadet Men's EpeeJunior Women's EpeeJunior Men's EpeeTotal
40404040160
Italy654621
Hungary353718
China27413
USA552113
Russia217212
Israel324110
Korea14139
Spain2147
Sweden32117
France2226
Estonia1135
Poland1315
Ukraine2125
Belarus2114
Canada1214
Germany213
Czech Republic22
Denmark22
Great Britain112
Japan22
Romania112
Argentina11
Egypt11
Georgia11
Kazakhstan11
Latvia11
Libya11
Norway11
Venezuela11
Source: International Fencing Federation.

 

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