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Fencing at the 1924 Paris Summer Games:

Men's Sabre, Individual

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Events:
Phases:

Host City: Paris, France
Venue(s): Winter Velodrome, Paris
Date Started: July 16, 1924
Date Finished: July 18, 1924

Gold: HUN Sándor Pósta
Silver: FRA Roger Ducret
Bronze: HUN János Garay

Summary

In 1908 and 1912 Hungary's Jenő Fuchs had won gold in individual sabre, but in 1920 Italy's Nedo Nadi came through for the title. That was the only interruption in Hungarian domination of this event at the Olympics, as they won every other gold medal from 1908-64. But they would be challenged in 1924 by Dutchman Arie de Jong who had won the World Championships in 1922 and 1923. De Jong made it to the final, alongside four Italians, three Hungarians, two Frenchmen, Ivan Osiier of Denmark, who competed at the Olympics from 1908-48, and Argentine Horacio Casco, who would finish, not unexpectedly, last in the final. The final pool victor was expected to come from the Hungarians, the Italians, or perhaps de Jong.

But of the 12 finalists, only eight would end up competing in what would become the final pool. The Italians were drawn against each other initially and Oreste Puliti, by far their top fencer, defeated his three countrymen easily. But the Jury of Appeal, led by Hungarian judge György Kovács, ruled that the Italians had thrown their matches to Puliti to allow him a better chance to win gold. Puliti was incensed and threatened to cane Kovács, which caused the Jury to disqualify Puliti. The other three Italians then withdrew in protest, and the final proceeded without the four Italians. The anti-climactic final was actually quite close with three fencers – Sándor Posta (HUN), Roger Ducret (FRA), and János Garay (HUN) winning five bouts and meeting in a barrage for the medals, which Posta won by defeating both Ducret and Garay. Ducret's silver medal gave him five medals in five events (he skipped team sabre) in Paris, with three golds – team foil and épée and individual foil.

Two days after the event Puliti saw Kovács at a music hall and resumed berating him. Kovács tried to avoid a scene by telling Puliti he could not understand Italian, so Puliti struck him in the face with his fist and said that perhaps he understood that. The men were separated and a formal duel was proposed.

The two combatants met again four months later at Nagykanizsa in southwestern Hungary, near the current Serbian border. The duel lasted for an hour, at which time the two were stopped by spectators who were concerned about the many wounds the two had received. Puliti and Kovács then shook hands and honor was restored.

The IOC convened a Jury of Honor to investigate this incident, an incident in men's foil team, and several incidents in boxing also involving bad sportsmanship. The Jury of Honor issued a report in March of 1925 banning Puliti from any further Olympic competition. Two years later, the Italian fencing federation asked for this decision to be reconsidered saying that Puliti had only been following the instructions of his team captain. Puliti was allowed to compete in the 1928 Olympics where he competed in the individual foil competition, finishing fourth, and was a member of the Italian foil team that won the gold medal and sabre team that won a silver medal.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Sándor Pósta 35 Hungary HUN Gold
2 Roger Ducret 36 France FRA Silver
3 János Garay 35 Hungary HUN Bronze
4 Zoltán Schenker 43 Hungary HUN
5 Arie de Jong 41 Netherlands NED
6 Ivan Osiier 35 Denmark DEN
7 Georges Conraux France FRA
8 Horacio Casco Argentina ARG
DNS r3/3 Marcello Bertinetti 39 Italy ITA
DNS r3/3 Bino Bini 24 Italy ITA
DNS r3/3 Oreste Puliti 33 Italy ITA
DNS r3/3 Giulio Sarrocchi 36 Italy ITA
5 p1 r2/3 Ödön von Tersztyánszky 34 Hungary HUN
5 p2 r2/3 Raúl Sola Argentina ARG
5 p3 r2/3 Héctor Belo Uruguay URU
6 p1 r2/3 Carmelo Merlo 42 Argentina ARG
6 p2 r2/3 Omer Berck 29 Belgium BEL
6 p3 r2/3 Robert Feyerick 32 Belgium BEL
7 p1 r2/3 Jules Maes Belgium BEL
7 p2 r2/3 Robin Dalglish 43 Great Britain GBR
7 p3 r2/3 Marc Perrodon 45 France FRA
8 p1 r2/3 Conrado Rolando Uruguay URU
8 p2 r2/3 Domingo Mendy Uruguay URU
8 p3 r2/3 Maarten van Dulm 44 Netherlands NED
9 p1 r2/3 Pedro Mendy Uruguay URU
9 p2 r2/3 Bill Castner 22 United States USA
9 p3 r2/3 Konstantinos Kotzias Greece GRE
AC p1 r2/3 Edgar Seligman 57 Great Britain GBR DNF
5 p1 r1/3 Cornelis Ekkart 31 Netherlands NED
5 p2 r1/3 Cecil Kershaw 29 Great Britain GBR
5 p3 r1/3 Jan van der Wiel 31 Netherlands NED
5 p4 r1/3 Arturo Ponce Argentina ARG
5 p5 r1/3 Archie Corble 40 Great Britain GBR
5 p6 r1/3 Sigurd Akre-Aas 26 Norway NOR
5 p7 r1/3 Rafael Fernández Chile CHI
6 p1 r1/3 Ernest Gignoux 49 United States USA
6 p2 r1/3 Charles Acke Belgium BEL
6 p3 r1/3 Chauncey McPherson 32 United States USA
6 p4 r1/3 Julio González Spain ESP
6 p5 r1/3 Arthur Lyon 47 United States USA
6 p6 r1/3 Fuat Balkan 36 Turkey TUR
6 p7 r1/3 Julián, Marquis de Murrieta 28 Spain ESP
7 p1 r1/3 Svend Aage Munck 25 Denmark DEN
7 p2 r1/3 Jens Berthelsen 33 Denmark DEN
7 p3 r1/3 Manuel Toledo 44 Spain ESP
7 p5 r1/3 Fernando Guillén Spain ESP
8 p5 r1/3 Ioannis Georgiadis 48 Greece GRE