You Are Here > > > > > Women's Foil, Individual

Fencing at the 1956 Melbourne Summer Games:

Women's Foil, Individual

Fencing at the 1956 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games ▪ Next Summer Games


Host City: Melbourne, Australia
Venue(s): Town Hall, St. Kilda, Victoria
Date Started: November 29, 1956
Date Finished: November 29, 1956

Gold: GBR Gillian Sheen
Silver: ROU Olga Orban-Szabo
Bronze: FRA Renée Garilhe


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 Reigning champion [Irene Camber-Corno] was expecting a baby whilst [Ilona Elek-Schacherer] was withdrawn from the Games by the Hungarian authorities after qualifying for the team at the age of 50.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.

View a Phase of this EventFinal StandingsFinal PoolSemi-FinalsRound One

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Gillian Sheen 28 Great Britain GBR Gold
2 Olga Orban-Szabo 18 Romania ROU Silver
3 Renée Garilhe 33 France FRA Bronze
4 Jan York-Romary 29 United States USA
5 Kate Delbarre 31 France FRA
6 Karen Lachmann 40 Denmark DEN
7 Ellen Müller-Preis 44 Austria AUT
8 Bruna Colombetti-Peroncini 20 Italy ITA
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 35 Australia AUS