Aladar Gerevich, one of the greatest of all Olympic fencers
The Hungarian fencer Aladar Gerevich is one of the greatest of all Olympic fencers. He won six successive gold medals in the sabre team events from the 1932 Games through to 1960 – if it hadn't been for the interruption for the Second World War, that total may well have been eight. Nevertheless, that gap of 28 years between gold medals has never been matched.
This was an era when Hungary was almost synonymous with great fencing. The depth of talent was marvellous, steering the nation to all those team medals, but also pushing the individuals to ever greater heights. Hungary's dominance of the Team Sabre event went through two generations, with the country's athletes winning every contest from a 14-2 victory over the Netherlands in 1924 all the way through to beating Romania 9-0 in 1964. Gerevich had won individual bronze in 1936, but what a swordsman of his ability really craved was individual Olympic Gold, and it came in London. He lost only one of 20 contests in the entire competition and finally got the one title that had eluded him.
He remained determined to win a second individual title for the rest of his career, although, despite all the team gold medals he won, a second individual victory never came. In 1960, he was told that he was, at 50, too old to represent Hungary. His response was to challenge the entire Hungarian team, and to beat them all. His selection was guaranteed, and he went on to collect the seventh gold medal of his career.
Gerevich's is a sporting family. His wife, son and father-in-law were also Olympic medallists in fencing, while his daughter-in-law represented Hungary at Volleyball.