Host City: Beijing, China
Venue(s): Olympic Green Convention Center, Beijing
Date Started: August 14, 2008
Date Finished: August 14, 2008
Format: Single-elimination tournament.
Since the US team had swept the medals a few days earlier in the individual event it seemed inevitable to most observers that they would storm to another gold medal in the team events.
They demolished South Africa in the first match but the unthinkable occurred in the semi-finals and they were defeated by Ukraine though, in fairness, their opponents were the 2007 World Championship runners-up. The champions of 2007 also fell in the semi-finals when France were put out by the host nation of China.
The China-Ukraine final was a classic. China maintained a clear lead until, with the score 40-36 in favour of the Chinese, the final pairing of [Olha Kharlan] and [Tan Xue] took to the stage. Kharlan, the outstanding performer of the final, fought back to tie the scores at 44-all with all to play for on the final hit. The two fencers appeared to score simultaneously and, after a lengthy video review, it was decided that a decision was impossible and they returned to fight once more. For the second time they appeared to score simultaneous hits but this time the referee decided in favour of the Ukrainian.