The art of fencing… or skilled swordplay… first became a sport in the middle 1700’s. During this time, when men often settled quarrels by dueling with swords, fencing was a necessary part of every gentleman’s childhood training. However, today fencing is a well-developed sport that is enjoyed by both men and women of all ages. It is truly a graceful sport that requires precise muscular coordination and a thorough knowledge of technique and tactics. The technique of swordsmanship is based on precision, speed, timing and distance. The fencing attack must coordinate hand and foot work, with a minimum of wasted motion. For example, to parry, the defender blocks or beats away the incoming thrust with the strong part of his blade. At that point the defender immediately counterattacks, or ripostes. Interestingly, every attack can be avoided or parried if the defender has time enough to react. Thus, success in this rigorous sport depends on split-second speed, fractions of an inch in distance, and sound tactical judgement. This thrilling sport of skill and agility is enjoyed by people all around the world… and is a popular event of the famed Olympic Games. Thus, to honor the remarkable Olympic event of Women’s Fencing, the United States Postal Service issued the stamp that is featured on the front of this First Day Cover.