Nedo Nadi

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Olympic medalist
Center
Nadi in 1912
Medal record
Men's Fencing
Gold 1912 Stockholm Foil Individual
Gold 1920 Antwerp Foil Individual
Gold 1920 Antwerp Sabre Individual
Gold 1920 Antwerp Foil Team
Gold 1920 Antwerp Épée Team
Gold 1920 Antwerp Sabre Team

Nedo Nadi (9 July 1894 – 29 January 1940) was an Italian fencer, widely regarded as one of, if not, the best ever. He is the only fencer to win a gold medal in each of the three weapons at a single Olympic Games and won the most gold medals ever at a single Games - five. Until Mark Spitz won seven swimming championships at the 1972 Summer Olympics, this was also the record number of gold medals won at a single Games by any competitor. Nadi won six Olympic gold medals in total.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Nedo Nadi was born in Livorno, Italy, the elder son of famous Italian fencing master, Giuseppe (Beppe) Nadi. He had a younger brother, Aldo who was an olympic gold medallist in his own right. Nedo had his first fencing lesson with a foil at the age of seven in his father’s gymnasium at Livorno. His father taught him foil and sabre but believed the épée to be an "undisciplined" weapon and refused to teach it. The brothers therefore used to go and practice by themselves and were essentially self-taught. At the age of fourteen Nedo won a solid silver trophy for his three weapon work during the Jubilee celebration of Emperor Franz Joseph at Vienna.

1912 Olympic Games[edit]

Competing for his country at 1912 Stockholm Olympics, Nadi became the youngest fencer to win a foil gold medal. Aged 18 years and 29 days, he beat teammate Pietro Speciale and Richard Verderber of Austria for the individual gold with seven straight victories in the final pool.

World War I[edit]

Nadi served in the Italian Army during World War I and was decorated for bravery.

1920 Olympic Games[edit]

Nadi resumed his competitive career after World War I was over. Defeated central European countries and the Soviet Union did not attend the Antwerp games. This meant that Hungary, one of the strongest fencing nations, would be absent. Nadi therefore decided to expand his chances for gold and entered all three fencing disciplines.

Nedo Nadi’s 1920 Olympic performances were acclaimed as near to perfection as a fencer could execute. Nadi won the individual foil gold medal with a record 10 wins in the final pool. Frenchman, Roger Ducret, who won bronze went on to win the individual gold in 1924, after Nadi had retired from the Olympic arena.

Nadi’s entry in the épée event annoyed his father, who regarded the épée as "a crude and undisciplined weapon”. Unlike the foil, where a fencer could only score off a hit which landed on the trunk of the opponent’s body, or the sabre where the upper torso and face mask count as scoring hits, in épée any part of the body is a legitimate hit. Nevertheless, Nedo Nadi led the Italian épée team, which included his brother Aldo, to the Olympic team gold medal.

Nedo Nadi's perfect balance, timing and rapid reflexes were an advantage in any style of fencing, so without much difficulty he won the individual sabre gold medal by 11 victories to 9. His brother Aldo won the silver medal. In the team sabre event, the Italian team supported their star fencer and cruised to an easy victory.

Nadi, carried in triumph by his opponents, added three team victories to his tally of two individual golds and his younger brother Aldo won three team gold and one silver to make the family total a record for any sport in one Olympic Games.

Later life[edit]

Aldo and Nedo only fenced each other once in public and that match was drawn.[citation needed] Aldo moved to Hollywood where he worked in the film industry.

After his Antwerp Olympic victories Nadi turned professional and took up coaching at the Buenos Aires Jockey Club. He returned to Rome some years later and was reinstated as an amateur. From 1935 to his death in January 1940 he served as president of the Italian Fencing Federation.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

  • DatabaseOlympics.com profile
  • Wallechinsky, David and Jaime Loucky (2008). The Complete Book of the Olympics - 2008 Edition. London: Aurum Press, Limited. pp. 597–8, 607, 621.
  • Media related to Nedo Nadi at Wikimedia Commons
Summer Olympics
Preceded by
Alberto Braglia
Italy Flag bearer for Italy
1920 Antwerp
Succeeded by
Ugo Frigerio