Host City: Melbourne, Australia
Venue(s): Town Hall, St. Kilda, Victoria
Date Started: November 29, 1956
Date Finished: November 29, 1956
For the first time since 1932 no previous Olympic champion appeared in this event. Reigning champion [Irene Camber-Corno] was expecting a baby whilst [Ilona Elek-Schacherer] was withdrawn from the Games by the Hungarian authorities after qualifying for the team at the age of 50.
The surprise of the event and of all the fencing competitions was Britain's [Gillian Sheen]. Sheen had been national champion since 1951 but had never been more than a fringe contender at the highest level. She started well at the first round stage but struggled at the semi-final stage and only claimed two wins out of five. Sheen had to survive a barrage against world champion [Lidia Dömölky] to reach the final pool. The Briton lost her opening match to [Olga Orban-Szabo] of Romania but then went on a run of six victories, mostly nail-bitingly close, that left her level with the Romania on top of the group table. Sheen then avenged two previous losses to Orban to win the gold medal bout.
In the excitement of the victory, the British team manager rushed out to congratulate her, tripped and only narrowly avoided being impaled on her sword. Her win was so surprising that no British journalist thought it worth covering the event.
|1||Gillian Sheen||28||Great Britain||GBR||Gold|
|4||Jan York-Romary||29||United States||USA|
|5 p1 r2/3||Emma Yefimova||25||Soviet Union||URS|
|5 p2 r2/3||Lídia Dömölky-Sákovics||20||Hungary||HUN|
|6 p1 r2/3||Maxine Mitchell||39||United States||USA|
|6 p2 r2/3||Pilar Roldán||17||Mexico||MEX|
|5 p1 r1/3||Velleda Cesari||36||Italy||ITA|
|5 p2 r1/3||Ecaterina Orb-Lazăr||21||Romania||ROU|
|5 p3 r1/3||Valentyna Rastvorova||23||Soviet Union||URS|
|6 p1 r1/3||Mary Glen-Haig||38||Great Britain||GBR|
|6 p2 r1/3||Nadezhda Shitikova||33||Soviet Union||URS|
|6 p3 r1/3||Judy Goodrich||17||United States||USA|
|7 p1 r1/3||Denise O'Brien||19||Australia||AUS|
|7 p2 r1/3||Régine Veronnet||27||France||FRA|
|7 p3 r1/3||Magda Nyári-Kovács||35||Hungary||HUN|
|8 p2 r1/3||Lois Joseph||Australia||AUS|
|8 p3 r1/3||Joy Hardon||Australia||AUS|