ivy olympians

FencingIvy Men’s Fencing at the Olympic Games

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While the Ivy League has had only a handful of medalists in men’s fencing, it has produced many Olympians. More than 50 men’s fencers have competed at the Olympics, but only one has captured gold — Harvard’s Manuel Diaz in 1904. Diaz, who still stands as the only Cuban-born Ivy Olympian, won two golds in St. Louis, winning a team medal in the foil and an individual medal in the sabre.

Frank Righeimer, a Yale graduate, took two bronze medals at the 1932 Olympics. He helped team USA to medals in the epee and foil competitions. The Los Angeles Games did not end his career though. He went on to win the outdoor epee national championship in 1933.

Several fencers have made three or more appearances at the Olympics. Yale’s Dernell Every was a member of the bronze medal-winning USA foil team with Righeimer in 1932. He made appearances at four Olympic Games between 1928 and 1948.

Yale’s John Huffman also competed four years in the saber events while Penn graduates David Micahnik and Harold A.R. Van Buskirk went three times each. Columbia’s Norman Armitage set the bar for success in terms of appearances, going to the Olympics six straight times between 1932 and 1956. He finally earned his first medal in 1948 when the United States saber team took bronze.

Ivy Women’s Fencing at the Olympic Games

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The Ivy League has seen five women make a total of nine appearances at the Olympics in fencing, most recently in 2000, when Columbia’s Erinn Smart and Anne Marsh took the trip to Sydney.Marsh is no stranger to the Olympic Games. She has appeared three times, beginning in the 1992 Games. In 2000, she just missed out on a medal when the United States foil team finished in fourth place.

Penn’s Brooke Makler made the first appearance by an Ivy League woman in fencing in the 1976 Games. Penn’s Mary Jane O’Neill and Columbia’s Katy Bilodeux both competed in the 1988 and 1992 Games. Their closest brush with a medal came in Seoul, when the United States finish sixth in the team foil competition.

Former number one in the world in the under-20 women’s saber and Yalie Sada Jacobson won a bronze in Athens in her first Games, as she looks to add to that in Beijing.

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