Nedo Nadi was the most versatile fencer in history, uniquely winning an Olympic title with each of the three weapons at the same Games.
22 wins to the gold medal
In 1912, when he was only 18 years old, Nadi won the individual foil title and then, in 1920, he produced one of the greatest of all Olympic performances. First he helped Italy win the team foil title. Then he added the gold medal in the individual foil by winning 22 matches and losing only two.
Gold medal with the undisciplined weapon
Nadi’s father, Beppe, considered the épée to be an “undisciplined” weapon and forbade its use in his salle. So Nedo would sneak out to practice with it elsewhere. His insubordination paid off when he won a gold medal in the team épée event in Antwerp. A few days later, Nadi also earned gold medals in the individual and team sabre for a record five fencing medals at the same Games.
From professional to amateur
His brother, Aldo, also won a gold medal in each of the three team events. After the 1920 Olympic Games, Nedo Nadi taught as a professional in South America but on his return he was reinstated as an amateur and served as President of the Italian Fencing Federation. Nadi had fought in World War I and was decorated by the Italian government for bravery.