Host City: Athina, Greece
Venue(s): Olympic Fencing Hall, Helleniko Olympic Complex, Hellinikon
Date Started: August 19, 2004
Date Finished: August 19, 2004
Format: Single-elimination tournament.
The two matches at the semi-final stage were classic encounters. In the first semi Italy rallied to beat world champions Russia by 45-42 whilst the encounter between France and the USA was even more dramatic. With the scores level at 44 apiece [Damien Touya] of France and [Keeth Smart] of the US were left to contest the deciding hit. Both men lunged forward and scored simultaneous hits which meant that the contest was to continue. However, in the process of striking Touya, Smart’s blade pierced Touya’s right glove and went through into his hand. The Frenchman received medical treatment and, after a ten minute delay, resumed the bout. Twice more the men scored simultaneous hits until, at the fourth attempt, Touya struck the decisive score.
It looked possible that Damien Touya might be forced to miss the final as a result of his injury but he was able to join forces with his brother [Gael] and [Julien Pillet] to face the formidable Italian team which included individual champion [Aldo Montano] (/athletes/106021). Montano retained the sparkling form he had shown earlier in the Games but his teammates could not match him and it was left to Damien Touya to fight back against [Luigi Tarantino] to order to seal gold.
The USA, after being denied a place in the final by the narrowest possible margin, fell to another heart breaking deciding hit defeat against Russia in the bronze medal match.