|Birth name||Ilona Schacherer|
|Full name||Ilona Elek-Schacherer|
17 May 1907|
|Died||24 July 1988
Ilona Elek, known also as Ilona Elek-Schacherer (née "Schacherer," May 17, 1907 in Budapest, Hungary – July 24, 1988 in Budapest) was a Hungarian Olympic fencer. Elek won more international fencing titles than any other woman.
Elek competed for Hungary in three Olympiads, winning three medals. She is considered one of the greatest female fencers in the sport's history.
Hungarian National Championships
Elek was the Hungarian foil champion in 1946–47, 1949–50, and 1952.
Elek was very successful at the World Championships, capturing the gold medal in women's foil in 1934, 1935, and 1951 (at the age of 44). She also won the silver medal in 1937 and 1954, and the bronze in 1955.
In the 1937 Championship in Paris, France, Elek came in second to Helene Mayer.
Elek was the first woman to win two Olympic gold medals in the individual foil competition.
Elek's first Olympic competition was at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany, at the age of 29. She won the gold medal for the foil event, becoming the first Hungarian woman to win an Olympic gold. In the process, Elek, who was Jewish, defeated a German with a Jewish father, Helene Mayer, who was one of only two Jews allowed to compete for Germany by the Nazis. The bronze medal went to Ellen Preis, an Austrian Jew.
There were no Games in 1940 or 1944 during World War II.
When the Games resumed after World War II, at age 41 she repeated her performance as Olympic champion by winning a gold medal in the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, England. It marked the 5th Olympics in a row where a Jewish woman had won the gold medal in foil. She became one of only two women to repeat as champions in 1948. Her sister, Margit Elek, placed 6th at the London Games. Ellen Preis again won the bronze medal.
Elek went on, at the age of 45, to win the silver medal at the 1952 Helsinki Games. She appeared the be headed for a 3rd consecutive gold medal, after winning her first 20 bouts and then the first 5 in the final pool. However, she lost the next match to Maxine Mitchell, and then two consecutive 4-3 matches to Irene Camber of Italy, the second of which was for the gold medal.
- "Ilona Elek Olympic Results". sports-reference.com. Retrieved 3 June 2010.
- Ilona Elek on Encyclopædia Britannica
- Peter S. Horvitz (2007). The Big Book of Jewish Sports Heroes: An Illustrated Compendium of Sports History and The 150 Greatest Jewish Sports Stars. SP Books. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
- Paul Taylor. Jews and the Olympic Games: the .... Retrieved 20 October 2011.
- Jewish Athletes[dead link] at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ilona Elek.|