Though merely a fencing novice who’s learned everything he knows about the sport in the last 56 hours via streaming competitions on his iPad, I’ve picked up a few things that would seem to be basic tenets of the sport. First, establish and maintain good footwork. Second, take an aggressive stance whether in pursuit or retreat. Third, a cell phone seems superfluous to the mission of scoring points by jabbing your opponent with the tip of your foil. But, again, I’m a mere beginner.
Enzo Lefort is not. He’s a French fencer with multiple world championship medals and seemed to have the first two rules down pat but failed on the third in an improbable, amazing, ridiculous and embarrassing Olympic moment.
The Frenchman was fighing Peter Joppich when the German forced Lefort back on the piste, almost knocking him off. Lefort had to recover and stepped toward Joppich in a desperation move to save himself from a penalty. Their bodies and foils collided and the force managed to jostle Lefort’s cell phone which, for some reason unbeknownst to everybody but him, was in his back pocket, as Fox Sports’ investigative reporting (i.e., using the zoom button) has discovered.
How do I say this without sounding like an M. Night Shyamalan movie. Look closer.
We, as citizens of the world, can only hope Lefort had a case on his phone because that thing did a header off its corner and came to rest a few feet away from its drop point.
1. Those pants are like the baseball pants they used to give you in Little League. They’re tight and could be something a guy named Zane would wear to a pre-Labor Day portobello mushroom cookout in Greenpoint. Who would ever think to put a phone in that pocket in a regular circumstance let alone at the Olympics. Surely there’s some sort of hipster man purse he could have used?
2. Do you think he was aware of the phone? Did he put it on vibrate? If it had been on ring, would that have been a penalty? Is there any way a cell phone can jam the electronic sensors that determine whether a fencer successfully hit an opponent for a point? (If you can’t use cell phones in some hospital wards because it could mess with telemetry monitors, then it’s feasible, no?) Could Joppich (who won the match 15-13) have repeatedly jabbed the phone when it was on the ground for points?
3. Lefort will be part of France’s team competition on Friday and is expected to fight with a iPad tucked into his shoe.
4. There’s a 99.8% chance this had something to do with Pokemon Go.