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ATLANTA 1996 OLYMPICS | SOUTHLAND FOCUS / A Look at
the day that was and at what lies ahead at the Summer
Games

Yeah, But Did They Do Wave?

July 21, 1996|BILL PLASCHKE

En garde, Bubba! The common folk of Atlanta got their first look at the aristocratic sport of fencing. And what a look it was.

As soon as they realized that this sport had nothing to do with selling jewelry out of automobile trunks, they set about trying to figure out how it was done.

There were plenty of cheers at the opening-day epee competition, but most of them were for athletes who had just lost points.

Because of a complicated scoring system that fencing officials hope to fix before the next Olympics, the guy getting touched usually is the guy winning. Or something like that.

Davie Underwood, an electrician from nearby Decatur, became a hero among fellow fans for figuring out why each fencer was attached to a long, metal cord.

"That's so judges can electronically see how many times a guy is hit," he announced.

And just how did he know that?

"Saw it on 'Columbo' once," he said. "Some guy got electrocuted to death that way."

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