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Monday, July 26, 2021

Ludwig Von Koopa Lost the Men's Épée Individual at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics


Team Koopa had timed our physical entrance to Tokyo's Olympics area so we could be quarantined for 72 hours after our arrival, miss the super-spreader and pretty boring Opening Ceremony, but then have me be able to participate in my big event: yesterday morning's Men's Épée Individual.

Ludwig Von Koopa Makuhari Messe Hall B Individual Men's épée epee Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
It's MY event! I'm destined to win! My face is there, you know.

Long-time KoopaTV readers (over the past...year and a half) know that I've been very publicly documenting my training in anticipation of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Then the Olympics got postponed to 2021... so I took a long break from my training until it restarted at the start of 2021. I hope I've gotten the many readers of my fitness logs to feel a sense of camaraderie with the Team Koopa cause. So what happened yesterday?

Well, maybe I should explain the sport first. Olympic fencing is divided into twelve events, but there's really three (multiplied by the four factors of men's, women's, individual's, and team's). Those are Sabre, Foil, and Épée. They differ in the weapon you get (those three names are the weapon names) and where you're allowed to hit your opponent.

The sabre is meant to be slashed and/or thrust at people. You get a point when your sabre hits the torso, face-mask, or arms. Sabre fencing is subject to the rules of priority, or what happens when two people seem to hit one another at the same time. There's lots of things relating to parrying and counter-attacks and normal people can't really follow it. This is why the weapons and gear people wear are actually all electronic, to help referees make judgement calls.

The foil is meant to just be thrust to someone's torso (scoring only counts if the foil's tip hits someone). The target area is the opponent's torso. This also follows the complicated priority rules.

The épée is also a thrusting weapon, but the entire body of the opponent is a valid target. Priority rules also aren't a thing; if people hit one another at the same time, they both get points.

Ludwig Von Koopa fencing épée pose Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
I might not like wearing masks, but... I did wear a mask after this photo was taken.
Specifically the fencing mask so I don't get my eyes stabbed out.

In the Olympic Men's Épée Individual, the first contender to score 15 points wins. There are three periods, each lasting three minutes. If all three periods pass, the person with the highest number of points wins. And then it's over. It's an up to 64-person (or Table of 64) single elimination bracket. One bout (or best-of-one). These go by very quickly. The pressure is immense.

I was first matched up against Wang Zijie, one of the three People's Republic of China competitors. And, uh, I lost 15 to 5 by the middle of the second period. It's hard to reflect on why I did so poorly because the replay isn't and probably never will be available (because NBC's Olympics coverage is a bigger villain than China). I think that while my footwork technique was pretty good thanks to my legs training, I lacked reach.

As a reminder, as a Koopaling, I'm shorter than the average human. Even shorter than the Chinese guy. That affects my range but also is supposed to mean my opponent's have less surface area they can hit me. Now, I should be able to parry and counter-attack if they lunge at me first, because then their vulnerable area (their sword-arm) will be closer to me. ...But if they get ahead, they can just camp out my bait-and-punish fight style and stall pretty decently. Which means I gotta get aggressive, and it just doesn't work out well. While I can be evasive with my footwork, I'm slower in actually being aggressive with épée lunging burst movement since that requires a lot more coordination between your arms, abs, and legs—and that coordinated training didn't come until very late. Still, it's a big disappointment to do all of that training and endure the ridiculous Chinese Communist Party Virus-related regulations only to immediately lose. And to a Chinese guy representing his country (and its government).

Ludwig Von Koopa can't believe I lost Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 fencing story mode
My sister Wendy watched the whole thing. She wasn't amused. (She also wasn't supportive.)

Wang Zijie, in the Table of 32, then lost to Elkord Houssam of Morocco in a very close 14 to 15 bout that went to the second period. (So at least me losing didn't impact much of the bracket's outcome.) Elkord then had to face Gergely Siklósi of Hungary, AKA the winner of the 2019 World Fencing Championships. The ultimate winner was Romain Cannone of France, who upset Siklósi in the finals. (The semi-finals and finals are readily accessible on NBC's Olympics website, at least.)

Besides King Bowser Koopa and Bowser Jr. entering every event on behalf of Koopa Kingdom, Wendy O. Koopa is in the Women's 100m Freestyle over the course of this week, and the week after that is the Equestrian Individual, entered by Larry Koopa. Best of luck to them all, but because of the IOC's regulations that people done with their events need to leave Japan as soon as possible, I won't be able to stick around in Japan and watch them in-person. And as you'll read about in tomorrow's KoopaTV article, it's actually a good thing that I'm heading back to Koopa Kingdom!

What'll probably happen—assuming life coincides with this—is that the next Olympics 2021 results article will be if/when Team Koopa actually wins a medal. Or else it's possible the site will be nothing but loss reports for the next couple of weeks with all of the events King Bowser Koopa and Bowser Jr. are entering but aren't successful in. Ludwig doesn't know what he's going to do with his fitness life now. Should he play the third and final go of the Ring Fit Adventure story and publish it on KoopaTV? Or should he give up on fitness altogether since he went and lost in the Olympics? Perhaps he should take up another sport? Help Ludwig with his life choices in the comments section.

Ludwig leaving Japan immediately was a good thing, because on July 27 he had to pick up his shipment of The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles.

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