About Edoardo Mangiarotti
The Italian fencer, Edoardo Mangiarotti, was the most decorated fencer in the history of the sport. He won a record 13 Olympic medals (six gold, five silver, two bronze) in fencing from 1936 to 1960 - a span of 24 years. He was most successful in the épée team event winning four gold medals (1936, 1952, 1956, 1960) and a silver (1948).
At the Berlin games in1936 he was a gold medal winner as part of the Italian Epée team aged only 17. His greatest moment came at Helsinki 1952 where he won two golds and two silvers.
His other gold medals came in the épée individual (1952) and the foil team (1960). Mangiarotti competed in 14 Olympic events, failing to medal only in the 1956 individual foil.
After making his international début at the 1935 World Championships, Mangiarotti won two world individual épée titles and was a member of 13 winning teams in the épée and foil.
Mangiarotti won 26 world championship medals, including 13 golds.
Edoardo's first victory came at 14 when he won the epee open in Tripoli, (epee is a light sword which became his favourite weapon, along with the foil.)
Mangiarotti went to 17 Olympics altogether, as an athlete, administrator or spectator. He was determined to make it to the 2008 Games in Beijing even though he had had a stroke five months before, leaving him temporarily unable to speak. While I'm still alive, I will go to the Olympic Games, he vowed. He was there.
Mangiarotti and twice Italian flag bearer at Olympic Games in Melbourne 1956 and Rome 1960.
His father Giuseppe made Edoardo, naturally right-handed, fence left-handed. This enabled him to surprise his opponents who ended up facing a fencer who could respond on the same side they were attacking him. The unpredictability of his moves led him to his most important victories.
His most effective strategy was to attack the opponents with the first touches in the bout and gain a points advantage which often became unsurmountable for the remainder of the bout.
Recognition and Awards
- At the 1980 Congress, Mr. Gian Carlo Brusati (ITA, MH), President of the FIE- Federation Internationale D'Escrime, named him Secretary-General of the FIE.
- Considered as one of the greatest fencers of all time, in 1981 (Query 18 March 2002? - there seem to be conflicting reports on the internet! - see FIE letter below) the International Olympic Committee awarded him with the Olympic Order. (Not on this list - another source suggests he was given this award in 2002)
The Olympic Order is awarded to individuals for particularly distinguished contributions to the Olympic Movement, and superseded the Olympic Certificate.
- He was awarded the title of Member of Honour of the FIE by the 1984 Congress.
- In 1998 he was given the highest Italian honor by the Italian President who appointed him 'Cavaliere di Gran Croce d'Italia'.
- President of the Scale of Votes Commission - ? FIE (needs explanation! CJB - queried)
- 2000 to 2008, President of the Disciplinary Commission - ? FIE.
He was honored in 2003 by the International Olympic Committee with its Platinum Wreath for winning a total of 39 medals at the Olympics and World Championships. Mangiarotti was an icon in Olympic fencing — his fencing was sleek, stylish, and revolutionized the sport.
His business career was as an estate agent and journalist. His brother, Dario, was also a member of the Italian medal winning Olympic épée teams in 1948 and 1952. They were both taught by their father, Giuseppe, who was several times professional épée champion in Italy.
He was drafted into the army as Lieutenant in the 7th Infantry in Milan. He was made an attack instructor, allowing him to keep practising his sport. When he returned to competition after the war, he honed a strategy of striking early to get points, then duelling defensively the rest of the match.
He died on Friday 25th May 2012 at his home in Milan aged 93. Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Petrucci said "our gold medal is now in paradise. He was the man of the Olympics: an extraordinary athlete ... and a reference point not only for the world of fencing but for all Italian sport."
"This is the passing of an incredible icon," said Valentina Vezzali, second after Edoardo Mangiarotti in the total number of Olympic medals at the Olympics and World Championships. "Edoardo Mangairotti was alwaus present at each Olympics and I remember his passion in following us from the stand and his final embrace. We'll miss him in London but his memory will be with us. I'm sure that he'll be with me when I'll march in the stadium waving the flag."
The FIE - Federation Internationale D'Escrime wrote the following letter when Edoardo died:
We have learnt with great sorrow that Edoardo Mangiarotti (ITA), Member of Honour of the FIE, passed away during the night of May 24, 2012.
Edoardo Mangiarotti was a prodigious athlete as well as a very talented leader.
At the 1959 Congress, he was awarded the Challenge Chevalier Feyerick with the following special mention:
“Exceptional fencer, who, during an already very long career adorned with the most prestigious awards, has never ceased to show examples of amazing moral and physical qualities, having always managed to combine the efficiency of pure classical fencing and the elegance characteristic of perfect sportsmanship.”
At the 1980 Congress, Mr. Gian Carlo Brusati (ITA, MH), President of the FIE, named him Secretary-General of the FIE.
He was awarded the title of Member of Honour of the FIE by the 1984 Congress.
Edoardo Mangiarotti was President of the Scale of Votes Commission and then, from 2000 to 2008, President of the Disciplinary Commission.
He invented the “Mangiarotti” point.
In 2002, he was awarded the Olympic Order by the IOC.
Born on April 7th, 1919, Edoardo Mangiarotti was an amazing foil and epee fencer. Junior Italian champion from the age of 11, he started fencing at an international level at the age of 16 and participated in his first World Championships in 1935.
He holds an impressive track record:
Olympic Games: 6 gold, 5 silver and 2 bronze medals: Berlin 1936 (gold), London 1948 (2 silver, 1 bronze), 1952 Helsinki (2 gold, 1 silver), Melbourne 1956 (2 gold, 1 bronze), Rome 1960 (1 gold, 1 silver).
World Championships: 15 gold, 7 silver and 5 bronze medals.
The FIE has lost a very dear friend, a unique and incomparable fencer, a historical and legendary figure of world fencing.
We would like to express our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Edoardo Mangiarotti, as well as to the Italian Fencing Federation. May they all be assured of our deepest sympathy and support in the very difficult times they are facing.