A LOOK BACK AT OLYMPIC FENCING

by Stan Griffin

Another one of very few deaf Olympic athletes was a fencer named Ildiko Uslaky-Rejto, a Hungarian born deaf in Budapest (1937).

She began fencing at age 15. Her coaches communicated with her by writing instructions on paper to give her when she was between training sessions. She eventually became one of the best female fencers in the world, hitting her peak in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

In 1956-1957 she was the junior world foil champion.

In 1958, she was Hungarian foil champion.

In 1963 she was World foil champion.

Ildiko took part in every Olympiad from 1960-1972: five of them. She won a total of seven medals: two gold, three silver, and two bronze and is considered one of the greatest female fencers in Olympic history.

At her first, the 1960 Rome Games, she won a silver medal as a member of Hungary’s foil team.. At the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, she won gold medals in both the individual and team foil events. At the 1968 Mexico City Games, she won an individual bronze and a team foil silver. At Munich in 1972 she won a silver medal in the team foil, and at Montreal in 1976 a bronze medal in the team foil.

She was still competing as late as 1999 when she won the women’s foil title at the World Veterans Championships (fencers over 60).

She is a member of the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.