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11 Aug 1932
Los Angeles 1932

Fencing great Gerevich comes of age

Hungarian fencer Aladár Gerevich enjoyed one of the greatest Olympic careers of all time, and its genesis can be traced back to Los Angeles 1932.

Born in 1910 in the village of Yasberen, Gerevich was introduced to the art of fencing at a young age and, at 21, was selected for the team that won the sabre title at the 1931 European Championships.

By this time Hungarian sabre fencing was on the cusp of a golden era. Of the team selected for Los Angeles the following year, Gerevich was one of only five members who had not already won an Olympic gold medal.

Competing in the team sabre event in Los Angeles, Gerevich and his colleagues won gold. Hungary’s bright dawn was about to flourish into a glorious epoch and at its centre would be Gerevich.

After 1932, despite the tragic interruption of World War II, which caused both the 1940 and 1944 Games to be cancelled, Gerevich collected at least one gold medal in each of the subsequent five editions of the Olympic Games – an achievement unmatched by any other Olympian to this day.

He made his final Olympic appearance at the 1960 Games in Rome at the age of 50 and, despite being warned that he was too old to compete, earned yet another gold medal in the team sabre. In total he participated at six separate Olympic Games, winning nine medals including seven golds.

Gerevich was not the only member of his family to enjoy fencing success on the Olympic stage. His father-in-law Albert Bogen won a silver in the team sabre at the 1912 Games, while competing for Austria, and was also a member of the Hungarian sabre team at the 1928 Games. Meanwhile, his wife Erna Bogen won a bronze in the women’s foil in Los Angeles, and their son Pal won a bronze medal as a member of the Hungarian sabre team at Munich 1972 and Moscow 1980.

After retiring from competition, Gerevich became a coach at the Vasa Sports club in Budapest. He died in 1991, aged 81.

Today, a fencing tournament created in honour of Gerevich and some of his distinguished Hungarian contemporaries is held in Budapest each year.

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