Wednesday, August 10, 2016


A lot has already happened at about the midpoint of the first week of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. There have already been stories of triumph, especially for “defending champions” from London 2012 winning gold once more here, or spectacular upsets and countries winning an Olympic medal for the first time (looking at you, Kosovo). There were stories of camaraderie like the gymnasts from North and South Korea sharing a selfie even when their countries are still frosty, and there were also sobering tales of friction and conflict like the Lebanese refusing to ride with Israeli athletes or the constant bashing against Russia for the doping charges.

But there have also been tales of quirkiness and flat out humor in the Olympic Games this year. One of the wildest yet has got to be a mess-up during the men’s foil fencing event last Sunday August 7, during a match between France and Germany according to the Daily Mail.

Enzo LeFort, a 24-year old fencer competing for France, must have been expecting some sort of very important call or message that he couldn’t possibly blow off. That could be the only plausible explanation for him tucking his cellphone in the back pocket of his fencing uniform even when going to fight his qualifying match against Germany’s Peter Joppich at the Carioca Arena.

Photographers were quick to spot and snap pictures of LeFort’s phone in his back pocket even as the two combatants prepared to lunge at each other. A brilliant maneuver by Joppich earned him the first point even as a surprised LeFort tried to regain his footing from the sudden attack.

Then came the money shot. As the French fencer righted himself, his cellphone came completely dislodged from his pocket and went tumbling down onto the piste, or fencing strip. Realizing what had just happened LeFort proceeded to try salvaging what dignity he had left and picked up the offending device before handing it off to a man to one side of the mat in a quick motion, as if making sure nobody saw.

Unfortunately whatever confidence he still had was shot to pieces by his faux pas, and in no time at all LeFort was bested by Joppich, 15-13. If it was any consolation to LeFort’s pride, his opponent was also humbled in the next round.

Having been inspired by fencer Laura Flessel and her gold medal win for France at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Enzo LeFort at age five decided to take up the same sport, eventual becoming part of his national team who stand as both World and European champions in foil fencing. LeFort himself won an individual bronze medal at the 2014 Fencing World Championships. And he hopes to avenge his light- hearted humiliation with the phone this coming Friday on the team foil quarter-finals against Team China.

Photo Credit to


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