RIO DE JANEIRO - Forty years after winning the gold medal in the event at the 1976 Olympic Games, IOC President Thomas Bach revealed the men's team foil final in Rio provided "an evening full of emotions."
President Bach was the guest of honour at Thursday's gold medal match at the Carioca Arena 3, where he saw Russia beat France for its sixth fencing medal of the Rio Games.
"This was an evening full of emotions," he said following the final match. "Seeing the athletes waiting with such excitement ahead of the Medal Ceremony brought back all the memories from 40 years ago."
President Bach was on the West Germany team that beat Italy in the final at the Games in Canada, collecting gold along with Harald Hein, Klaus Reichert, Matthias Behr, Erk Sens-Gorius.
He presented the medals to the athletes following the final. Frederic Pietruszka, the FIE General Secretary, won the bronze medal with France on the same night as President Bach won gold.
"It was a special night here in Rio," he said. "We have had some incredible action on the piste over the last few days and the visit of the President, especially 40 years after Montreal, was the perfect way to celebrate."
Just before the final, President Bach visited the International Fencing Federation's Sport Initiation programme outside the venue, where he passed on some valuable tips to members of the public.
Fencing has close ties to the Olympic Movement: It was one of the five original sports at the first Games of the modern era in 1896 and Pierre de Coubertin, considered the father of the modern Olympics, was a fencer himself.
The Sport Initiation programme is part of the FIE's Rio Loves Fencing campaign, a concerted drive to boost the popularity of the sport in Brazil.
Sport Initiation follows a two-month Fencing School program that visited more than two dozen educational institutions and community centres around Rio, teaching the basics of the sport to more than 3,000 children aged 5-15.
Sport Initiation is available to Olympic ticket holders for the duration of the fencing competition, which runs August 6-14.