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Between the Lines

The Fencing Field of Play


Stuart Franklin / Getty Images

Wired for action

Stuart Franklin / Getty Images
The Olympic fencing piste, or strip, measures 14 meters by 2 meters (46 feet by 6 feet 7 inches). The white area at the end nearest the Olympic rings is the "run back," which is out of bounds. The tan area marks the 2 meters between the warning line and the end line. If a fencer crosses the end line with both feet into the run-back area, the opponent is given a touch (one point). The thinner tan lines are the on guard lines; each fencer stands behind his or her on guard line for the start of a bout, after a touch is recorded, or after any other official break in the action. The wires are for electronic scoring; nowadays, both the weapons and uniforms are wired in order to register touches.
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