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A Visual History of the Countries that Have Dominated Women’s Epee at the Senior World Fencing Championships 1989-2015

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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 found here. A visualization history for each of the six gender-weapons will be provided over the next two months. We have already posted Men’ Saber.

In our visualization, we have drawn a timeline showing rolling five-year total Top 8 results for the dominant women’s epee 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 women’s epee 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 women’s epee 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 rolling five-year Top 8 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 interactive graph below to highlight the comparative data for each country. Only data for  the 22 countries with Top 8 results are provided in the graph. Ninety countries have been represented in women’s epee events since 1989.

Senior Women’s Epee

Since 1989, Hungary has dominated women’s epee at the Senior World Fencing Championships with 24 Top 8 results, followed by France and Italy with 20 Top 8 finishers, apiece. The countries are joined by Germany and Russia to round out the Top 5 epee countries, as illustrated in the graph below. Over the past five years or so, Romania, Estonia and Korea have emerged as major forces in women’s epee.

Romania, Italy, Hungary, Estonia and Korea now make up the Top 5 women’s epee nations at the World Championships. Hungary, France, Italy and Germany captured about 75% of the Top 8 results in the early 1990’s, but their share has dropped to about 42% in recent years, paving the way for newcomers such as Romania, Estonia, Korea and China. Scroll over the interactive graph to highlight details.

Since 1989, Team USA has been represented by 32 fencers who have entered the Women’s individual epee event on 81 occasions as listed in the table below. In all, only one U.S. women epee fencer has finished in the Top 8 at the World Championships over the period. Donna Stone, the current strip coach to Ariana Mangano, New York Athletic Club, (Member of 2017 Cadet & Junior World Championship Teams), finished 5th in 1989.

The ranking of Team USA Women’s Epee members by the number of Senior World Fencing Championships attended for individual competition is provided in the accompanying table. Kelley Hurley is ranked #1 with ten Senior World Fencing Championship appearances over a thirteen-year period, 2003-2015. Her sister, Courtney is ranked 2nd with eight appearances. Margo Miller is ranked 3rd with seven World Championship appearances and Maya Lawrence is ranked 4th with five appearances.

Ranking of Team USA Senior Women's Epee Fencers by Number of Senior World Fencing Championships Attended for Individual Competition 1989 to 2015

RankFencerYear 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5Year 6Year 7Year 8Year 9Year 10 
1HURLEY Kelley2003200520062007200920102011201320142015
2HURLEY Courtney20062007200920102011201320142015
3MILLER Margo1990199119921994199319951997
4LAWRENCE Maya20052006200720112013
5CAMPBELL Lindsay2005200920102011
5STONE Donna1989199019911995
7HOLMES Katharine201320142015
7JAMES Kamara200120022003
7MARX Leslie199419951997
7CHERIS Elaine199219931999
11SKILLMAN Laurel199019911992
11WILLOCK Lauren20052010
11BURT Lacey20062007
11SPILMAN Elisabeth20012003
11LE Nhi Lan19981999
11BURKE Jessica19971998
11CARPENTER Kathry19941995
11MASKELL Laura19891993
19TRZOPEK Katarzyna2015
19VAN BRUMMEN Anna2014
19SCANLAN Susannah2009
19EIM Stephanie2003
19SUCHORSKI Kristin2002
19LESZKO Julia2001
19EIM Stefanie1999
19STEVENS Arlene1999
19FURU Katherine1993
19LEWIS Tereza1993
19MCFARLAND Marx1992
19TURPIN Barbara1992
19LITTMANN Jane1990
19RIEBMAN Amy1990
Source: International Fencing Federation. * Current 2017 Senior World Team Member.

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