11th June

Born on this day in 1881 in Paris – Alexandre Auguste Lippmann. He competed in the 1908, 1920 and 1924 Olympics in five events, winning medals in them all – two golds, two silvers and a bronze. He missed out on competing at 1912 Games as the French disagreed with the rules of the competition. In1909 he won the French Epee title.  Alexandre fenced for the Cercle de l’Escrime de Paris fencing club, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame of Jewish Sports in 1984. He was also a genre painter and via his mother – Marie Alexandrine Henriette Dumas, was the great grandson of the French writer Alexandre Dumas, author of The Three Musketeers. He died at the age of 78 on 23rd February 1960 in Paris.



German fencer Cornelia Hanisch was born today in 1952.  She won a gold medal in the team foil and a silver in the individual foil at the 1984 Olympics. Between 1977 and 1985 she won ten medals in the foil at world championships, including four gold medals.  In 1980 she received the Sibernes Lorbeerblatt and in 1985 was voted Sportierin des Jahres (athlete of the year).  She started her fencing career at the age of eleven, at the wish of her mother who was not all that happy that Cornelia was playing football with the “boys of the neighbourhood”.  Affliated to FC Offenbach, Offenbach am Main, she soon demonstrated that she was blessed with huge talent, at the age of 16 she was a member of the national team, but at once stage took a sudden aversion to fencing and turned her interest to tennis. She was successful, becoming Hessian runner-up. In 1972, fencing coach Horst-Christian Tell, succeeded in getting Cornelia back into fencing and by 1975 she was second in the German Foil championship, winning the title a year later, repeating this success four times between 1981-1985. On the World Championship stage she was second in 1977, third in 1978 and in 1979 she won the World Cup title in Melbourne and World Champion in 1981, a title she regained in 1985 at the age of 33, retiring from competition a year later.

Following retirement Cornelia became active in the peace movement and spoke openly against the Olympic boycott in 1980. She actively participated in the initiative “Athletes for Peace – Against Nuclear Missiles”



Born on this day in 1929 in Horsham, West Sussex, was British fencer, Patricia Moray Buller.  A left handed foiliat, she was the daughter of local magistrate and equerry to the King, Sir Henry Buller, she fenced for the London Fencing Club and won the junior women’s title in 1948.  Patricia competed in the Individual Foil at the 1952 Olympics, where she unfortunately failed to make the final rounds. A personal friend of Queen Elizabeth II, she was also a well-respected artist. She exhibited with at the Association of Sussex Artists, where she was a prominent member.  Her marriage to Commodore Peter Ashmore in 1952, was one of the society weddings of the year with the Queen, the Queen Mother, and Princess Margaret in attendance.  In later life she became Lady Ashmore and died on 18th April 2013 aged 83.



Born on this day in 1908 in Milano, Italy – Gioacchino Guaragna. Together with Marzi, Gaudini and Bocchino, he  was one of the Four Musketeers, the superior Italian foil fencers, who competed between the wars. In addition to his two Olympic gold medals and one silver medal, he took several titles at World Championships and the International Championships, which preceded the official World Championships until 1935. He won six titles in team foil (1929-1931, 1933-34, 1938) and two, in 1933 and 1938, in individual foil. He was also twice a bronze medallist in individual foil (1927, 1930). Still active after World War II Gioacchino made his last international appearance in the 1949 meeting against France in Cannes, which ended in a draw. He died in his hometown at the age of 62 on 19th April 1971



Valery Pryiemka, Belarusian sabre fencer, was born today in 1983 in Minsk. Affiliated to both the Army Sports Club Minsk and the Trade Union Sports Club of Minsk he is a right-handed fencer, who is coached by Aliaksandr Surimto. Valery was the 2007 European and 20112 World silver medallist. At both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics he competed in the sabre event, but was defeated in the second round on both occasions. He was also a member of the Belarusian men’s sabre team at these Games.



Giorgio Pessina, Italian fencer was born on this day in 1902 in Rome. His father was a fencing master, who introduced him to the sport. Giorgio competed at three Olympics (1924-32) in team foil, winning gold in 1928. In 1927 he participated in the unofficial World Championships and finished fifth in the individual event. In 1947 he turned professional and went to Uruguay as a youth coach. Upon his return to Italy he became head coach of the Italian federation and in 1977 became chairman of the Association of Fencing Masters. Together with Ugo Pignotti he wrote the standard works about the different fencing arms. He died in his birth city aged 75 on 18th July 1977.



Valentyna Ksenofontivna Rastvorova was born in Odessa today in 1933. She competed at the 1956, 1960 and 1964 Olympics in the individual and team foil events, winning an individual gold in 1960 and team silver medals in 1960 and 1964. She also won six gold and two silver medals at the world championships of 1956–1967, mostly in the team foil. After retiring from competition she worked as a fencing coach at her club Dynamo Moscow. She is married to Boris Grishin, an Olympic water polo player. Their son, Yevgeny, is an Olympic champion in water polo while their daughter, Yelena has represented her country at fencing at Olympic level