Paul Anspach

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Olympic medalist
Anspach in 1912
Medal record
Men's Fencing
Competitor for  Belgium
Gold 1912 Stockholm Individual epée
Gold 1912 Stockholm Team epée
Silver 1920 Antwerp Team epée
Silver 1924 Paris Team epée
Bronze 1908 London Team epée

Paul Anspach (1 April 1882 – 28 August 1981) was a Belgian épée and foil fencer.

Anspach competed in four Olympiads for the Belgian fencing team (1908, 1912, 1920 and 1924).[1]

Early life[edit]

Anspach was born in Burcht, Belgium on 1 April 1882.[2]

Anspach, who was Jewish,[3] began his athletic career as a soccer player.[citation needed] He died in his sleep in Brussels, Belgium on 28 August 1981.[1][2]

Fencing career[edit]


He was captain of the Belgian National Épée team from 1909–28.

Anspach's first Olympic appearance was at the 1908 London Games, where he competed in both the team and individual épée events. Belgium captured the silver medal in the team competition; Anspach won 10 of his 15 bouts. He then competed in the individual competition, reaching the finals (he won his 2nd round and semifinal pool), where he finished 5th overall. He also competed in the sabre competition, where he made it as far as the 2nd round.[2]

At the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, he captured gold medals in both the individual and team épée competitions. Among his teammates were his brother Henri Anspach, famed artist Jacques Ochs, and Gaston Salmon. In the individual event, he won 6 of 7 matches to capture the gold (his only loss was to British fencer Edgar Seligman). Anspach also reached the semifinals in the individual foil event, before being eliminated (he finished 12th overall).[2][4]

Anspach's next Olympic competition was the 1920 Antwerp Games (there were no Olympics in 1916 due to World War I), where he won a silver medal in the team épée competition.[2][3] His final Olympiad was the 1924 Paris Games, where he competed in the individual épée and reached the finals, but finished in 9th place. In team épée, Anspach again competed in the finals and Belgium finished in 2nd place, winning the silver medal.[2]

In 1951 Anspach became the first recipient of the Taher Pacha Trophy (founded in 1950 by H.E. Mohammed Taher Pacha, member of the IOC for Egypt. It is to awarded annually by the IOC to an Athlete whose "general merit and career justify the award of a special distinction in the name of Olympism.")[5]

In 1976 Anspach was awarded the Silver Medal of the Olympic Order.[1][4] For the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, the Comités d'organisation des Jeux Olympiques (COJO) invited Anspach to take part in the ceremony for the transmission of the Flame from Athens to Ottawa. Unfortunately his doctors felt that the journey from Brussels to Athens and back would be too tiring for the ninety-year-old Belgian, who, however, said he was "honored and moved by this very special invitation".[6]

Belgian Olympic Committee and International Fencing Association[edit]

He contributed to the formation of the Belgian Olympic Committee in 1906.[1][7]

In 1913 he was one of the founders of the International Fencing Association ("Fédération Internationale d'Escrime", or FIE).[4] He served as its Secretary-General, before serving as its President from 1932 until 1939 (when it was suspended for the duration of World War II), and then from 1946 until 1950.[4]

In 1914 he sat as Secretary at the Paris Olympic Congress, where he dealt with the technical side of the Congress.[8] In 1914, along with the Marquess of Chasseloup-Laubat he drew up the rules for Fencing as an Olympic sport.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Olympism in mourning". Olympic Review (Lausanne, Switzerland: The International Olympic Committee) 167: 559. September–October 1981. Retrieved 18 August 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Paul Anspach Biography and Statistics". Sports Reference. Retrieved 17 August 2009. 
  3. ^ a b Horvitz, Peter S. (April 2007). The Big Book of Jewish Sports Heroes: An Illustrated Compendium of Sports History & The 150 Greatest Jewish Sports Stars. Specialist Press International. p. 184. ISBN 1-56171-907-2. Retrieved 18 August 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Olympic awards.". Olympic Review (Lausanne, Switzerland: The International Olympic Committee). 107–108: 505–506. September–October 1976. Retrieved 18 August 2009. 
  5. ^ "The Taher Pachas trophy.". Olympic Review (Lausanne, Switzerland: The International Olympic Committee) 29: 2. September 1951. Retrieved 18 August 2009. 
  6. ^ "COJO's Invitation to Mr. Paul Anspach". Olympic Official Report Montreal 1976 (Lausanne, Switzerland: The International Olympic Committee). 1 (part 2). 1976. Retrieved 18 August 2009. 
  7. ^ "Around the National Olympic Committees.". Olympic Review (Lausanne, Switzerland: The International Olympic Committee). 107–108: 566. September–October 1976. Retrieved 18 August 2009. 
  8. ^ Anspach, Paul (September–October 1974). "Coubertin and fencing". Olympic Review (Lausanne, Switzerland: The International Olympic Committee). 82–83: 461. Retrieved 18 August 2009. 
  9. ^ Lahmy, Eric (August 1985). "Safety in Fencing". Olympic Review (Lausanne, Switzerland: The International Olympic Committee) 214: 499. Retrieved 18 August 2009. 

External links[edit]