Close Encounters of the Fencing kind at London Olympics 2012

London 2012 Fencing Mascot PinLeon Paul, a sponsor of the United States Fencing Team, has created “London Lights”, which wrap around and under the base of the pistes (metal strips upon which the sport is played.)

The video below is just fun.  The serious side of this effort was to make the sport more enjoyable for spectators by enhancing the visual experience.  When a Fencer’s weapon makes contact, the entire half of the strip will light up with the appropriate colored or white light.  Fencing is an extremely fast sport and the addition of the strip lighting will make the action a little easier to follow, especially for TV audiences.

One picture, or in this case short video, is worth a thousand words.

Leon Paul Light Up London Olympics 2012

Over 640 meters of LED color changing light rope with 38,400 individual LED’s and more than 5km of cable were used to make this spectacular visual effect.

For more of the back story on the creation and videos of this incredible effort, check out:

Leon Paul:  Lighting up London

Foil Fencing is one of my hobbies left over from seven years of very serious High School, College and National level competitions.  It is one of those sports that you can do at any age and I started fencing again in my late 30’s.  (In case you are wondering:  Yes, it is like riding a bicycle – you never forget how to do it.)  I now Fence in the Open and Veteran’s (over 40) categories.

You might be surprised to know exactly how much technology is in the sport.  All modern day Fencing is electric.  Depending on the weapon being used:  Foil, Sabre, or Epee – the exact configuration of the gear changes but the principle is the same – complete a circuit or break a circuit and put on a Light indicating a valid or invalid touch.   Fencing scoring machines are built to exacting tolerances to detect actions in milliseconds.

High quality protective clothing is made from advanced stretch fabrics that are rated to protect up to 800 newtons of force (of a broken blade trying to impale you) and lined with ultra-thin, light weight wicking materials to keep you dry.  The weapon blades are forged from high grade low carbon content maraging steel for maximum strength and appropriate flexibility.   Fencing even has the latest in “Air” footwear with the “Nike Air Ballestra.”

Personal Note:  Leon Paul technology extends throughout their entire line of products.  Each Olympics they introduce some new advance that pushes the sport forward either through increased safety or higher performance.  They are one of the finest manufacturers of Fencing equipment and clothing and I recommend them highly to anyone looking for top quality gear.  It is the brand I used as a kid, and the one I still trust today as an adult.  And, it is what our US Fencing team will be wearing in London 2012.

Modern day Fencing has a different kind of software and hardware technology.  A type that I believe is significantly more fun to play with than that produced by Microsoft or Apple.

For more information on the Sport of Fencing, visit:

USA Fencing

For more information on great gear, visit Leon Paul, a sponsor of the US Fencing Team

Note: Logos, Trademarks, and Images are property of their respective owners.

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