It seems that actions that even the majority of the Fencing.Net community think are clear will cause some controversy.


The action in question occurs at 10-10 to put Lamanova up 11-10 over Vezzali.

The crux of the arguement put forth by some members of the UK forum, who came over the Fencing.Net to defend their views, is that once Lamanova makes the beat, she withdraws her arm while Vezzali counter-attacks into her. Because Lamanova pulls her arm back when Vezzali closes distance, they argue, Vezzali should be awarded the point.

Rather than pile on our own opinions, we sought an expert. Derek Cotton has refereed at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and the Athens Olympics in 2004. He had this to say:

On replay I can tell you that that was 100% the correct call and is a call which all referees could hope to make under pressure.

Life happens at full speed, fencing even faster than that and when you break it down, and look at it at half speed, things can appear differently than they do in the moment. That does not mean that things will appear in a more clear form and therefore, there will be no more bad calls, just things appear differently.

This action is a classic example. Look at all the touches before and after the one in question. Valentina is counter attacking on every action and the Russian is pressing the attack. Never multiple steps, always a slide (or check)or quick, little advances. So on the action in question she takes the blade and starts forward as before and Valentina counter attacks, as before.

Only with the benefit of slow mo and replay the refs decision is a controversial one.

Even the Italians think it was the right call. It is no different than a parry riposte where the remise is so aggressive and fast that the riposter does not get to extend her arm; still the riposte.

Read the thread here: Vezzali vs Lamanova


Derek Cotton coaches at Fortune Fencing in Pasadena, CA. He will also be running a Referee Seminar on September 9th. For more information on the seminar, check the So Cal Division Calendar.