Tsar of the foil
Fencer Alexander Romankov won five Olympic medals and 10 world championship titles and is regarded as one of the best foil specialists of all time.
Master tactician, model ambassador Representing the USSR from the early 1970s to the end of the 1980s, Alexander Romankov enjoyed great success in the individual and team fencing at all of the world’s major tournaments. He took the foil to a new level, combining speed, masterly technique and a lightning intellect, which made him a supreme tactician on the piste. The crowds loved this unorthodox left-hander, and his brilliance often even drew applause from supporters of his opponent. In 1985, the International Fencing Federation (FIE) awarded him the prestigious Chevalier Feyerick Trophy, hailing him as “a model of chivalry on the piste, whose intelligence and moral integrity helped him a great ambassador for our sport around the world.”
Ten times world champion Romankov was crowned world champion on 10 occasions (in the individual foil in 1974, 1977, 1979, 1982 and 1983, and the team foil in 1974, 1979, 1981, 1982 and 1989), making him the most successful foil specialist of all time. In three editions of the Olympic Games, he amassed five Olympic medals, though the individual gold always eluded him. In the final of the individual foil at Montreal 1976, he lost at the death to 19-year old Italian, Fabio Dal Zotto. At Moscow 1980, Romankov saw his compatriot Volodymyr Smyrnov take the individual gold, while he had to settle for bronze, though he went one better in the team event, helping the USSR clinch silver. He added another individual bronze in Seoul in 1988, where, after losing his semi-final, he defeated Germany’s Ulrich Srchreck in the third-place match. And it was in Seoul that he finally claimed his one and only Olympic gold in the team foil.
Big in Belarus Romankov worked under the same fencing master, Ernst Assyevesky, throughout the whole of his career, and when he retired from competition in 1993, he decided to follow in Assyevesky’s footsteps, going into coaching himself. After spells as coach of the national teams of the Republic of Korea and Australia, he returned to his original club Dynamo Minsk in Belarus. After taking citizenship there, he was appointed coach of the national foil team, and then served as President of the Belarusian Fencing Federation from 2006 to 2012. At the Beijing 2008 Opening Ceremony, Romankov was chosen to be the flag-bearer for the Belarus Olympic delegation.