In this context, various unpleasant incidents occurred during the Olympic fencingtournament of 1924. The ﬁrst took place on 30 June, during the ﬁnal round-robinpool in the team foil event between France and Italy. The referee awarded a point tothe Frenchman Lucien Gaudin – but the point was claimed by the Italian Aldo Boni,cheered on by the frenzied Italian spectators. When the referee held to his decision, theItalian team left in a huff to the sound of the Fascist hymn rising from the bleachers.The whole team were disqualiﬁed, and when they refused to apologize ofﬁcially, they were scratched from the individual foil event scheduled for the next day.The hostile atmosphere continued during the other events, and reached its climax a few days later during the individual sabre event, in what the 22 July issue of
described as ‘Italian violence’. The focus of the conﬂict was Oreste Puliti, theleading Italian fencer, who was disqualiﬁed by one of the Hungarian judges, Georgesde Kovacs.  The protagonists took the whole thing very seriously, turning to theIOC’s recently set-up
. The international Fencing Federation alsostepped in, further complicating diplomatic relations, and the ‘Puliti Affair’ was notsettled until 1928.In this article, the Puliti Affair is used to analyse several aspects of nationalism insport during the immediate post-war period.  First, the affair must be placed in itspolitical context at a time when Italian society was moving towards Fascism. Second,the speciﬁc nature of fencing as a traditionally ‘national’ sport must be addressed for abetter understanding of certain underlying issues. Third, the IOC’s position wasrevelatory of the tensions between it and the international federations, and of thedifﬁculty of ﬁnding a diplomatic balance in view of the individual national attitudesinvolved. Finally, the Puliti affair involved ‘men of honour’, for whom values of classand masculinity were crucial: their behaviour illustrates how strongly sport was linkedto gender and culture in the making of Europe at the beginning of the 1920s. It was precisely in response to nationalistic tensions and ‘incidents’ at the 1920Olympic Games that the British proposed solutions to curb unsportsmanlikeconduct, including violence, among contestants, leading to the IOC discussing thesubject in 1923.  A proposal to appoint the IOC executive committee as a
was put forward.  The name chosen for this new structure wasobviously rooted in the code of chivalry shared by the IOC aristocratic members. The
was created, ﬁrst and foremost, to provide an administrativeframework for settling all non-technical structural disputes.  It complemented the juries proposed by the international federations, namely the ﬁeld juries that refereedand managed the events themselves and the juries of appeal for each discipline thatruled on any technical components or sporting matters that the ﬁeld jury was unableto deal with. The Swiss citizen Godefroy de Blonay presided over the IOC executive committeefrom 1921 to 1925, with the Belgian Henri de Baillet-Latour as vice-president. Theother members were Pierre de Coubertin and the Marquis Melchior de Polignac fromFrance, Sigﬁed Edstro¨m from Sweden and Jiri Guth-Jarkowsky from Czechoslovakia,who gave up his seat to Reginald Kentish (Great Britain) for the 1924 games. In their
T. Terret et al.