Johan Harmenberg

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Johan Harmenberg
RIAN archive 556150 Fencer Johan Harmenberg.jpg
Personal information
Full nameJohan Georg Harmenberg
Born (1954-09-08) 8 September 1954 (age 64)
Stockholm, Sweden

Johan Georg Harmenberg (born 8 September 1954 in Stockholm, Sweden) is a Swedish Olympic and world champion epee fencer.

Early and personal life[edit]

Harmenberg was born in Stockholm, Sweden, and is Jewish.[1] He completed two years of study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1975, leaving his course early (he would have graduated in 1977) before returning to Sweden, having been drafted by the Swedish army.[2][3] He became a biotech executive and researcher.[3] He now holds an MD and a PhD in virology from Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden, and has been the Chief Medical Officer of Oncopeptides AB since 2012.[4]

His son Karl Harmenberg fenced epee for Harvard University, and as a junior in 2008-09 won the gold medal at the NCAA Regionals and was selected to All-Ivy League second team.[5]

Fencing career[edit]

He has won eight total epee gold medals in both individual and team competitions at Olympic, World Championships, and World Cup tournaments.

World Championships[edit]

He won the World Championship titles in Individual Épée and Team Épée events at the 1977 competitions in Buenos Aires.[6]

He also won a bronze medal in Team Épée at the 1979 World Championships in Hamburg.[1]

World Cups[edit]

Harmenberg captured three Individual Épée World Cup Championships within four years: 1977 (Bern), 1979 (Heidenheim), and 1980 (Heidenheim).[1] He also won team titles at the 1977 and 1980 World Cups.[1]


At the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games, he won a gold medal in the Individual Épée.[7][8] In three of the final matches he won by only one touch.[9] He is the only Swede to have won an individual gold medal in fencing.[10] Harmenberg was a member of the Swedish épée team as well; the team placed 5th in the team épée competition.[11]

Hall of Fame[edit]

Harmenberg, who is Jewish, was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1997.[12]


He is the author of over 100 publications in scientific literature.[4] Harmenberg co-authored scientific papers entitled "Fencing: Biomedical and Psychological Factors," "Comparison of different tests of fencing performance" (1991), and "Physiological and morphological characteristics of world class fencers" (1990).[13]

Harmenberg has since had a distinguished career in medical pharmacology, publishing a variety of papers relating to viral immunology.[14] After stints as VP of pharmaceutical development at Medivir,[15] Chief Medical officer at Algeta ASA,[16] is currently (2014) Medical Director and VP of clinical development at Axelar AB [17] in Stockholm, Sweden.

Johan co-authored Épée 2.0: The Birth of the New Fencing Paradigm,[18] and Épée 2.5: The New Paradigm Revised and Augmented.[19] In these books, he describes the new fencing paradigm that he developed with Maestro Eric Sollee, from MIT, which resulted in his victories and a transformation in how Épée is fenced at the higher levels of competition.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Harmenberg, Johan: Jews In Sports
  2. ^ "The Harvard Crimson". Retrieved September 29, 2016.
  3. ^ a b Mastering 'Metrics: The Path from Cause to Effect - Joshua D. Angrist, Jörn-Steffen Pischke
  4. ^ a b "Johan Harmenberg M.D., Ph.D.: Executive Profile & Biography" - Bloomberg
  5. ^ ""
  6. ^ "Fencing World Championships". Archived from the original on October 12, 2009. Retrieved June 27, 2010.
  7. ^ "Olympics Statistics: Johan Harmenberg". Archived from the original on 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2011-04-26.
  8. ^ "Johan Harmenberg Olympic Results". Archived from the original on 2011-03-17. Retrieved 2011-04-26.
  9. ^ [1] Archived 2015-04-27 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ [2]
  11. ^ "Johan Harmenberg Bio, Stats, and Results" | Olympics at
  12. ^ "x". Archived from the original on September 26, 2007.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 9, 2003. Retrieved 2013-08-18.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  14. ^ "author:J. author:Harmenberg". Google Scholar. Retrieved June 27, 2010.
  15. ^ "RP-606 Rights Revert to Medivir". December 9, 2005. Retrieved June 27, 2010.
  16. ^ Nature Biotechnology (September 1, 2006). "Nature Biotechnology Journal". Retrieved June 27, 2010.
  17. ^ "Axelar: The Team". Retrieved March 21, 2014.
  18. ^ Epee 2.0: The New Fencing Paradigm, by Johan Harmenberg, SKA SwordPlay Books, October 2007, ISBN 978-0978902216
  19. ^ Epee 2.5: The New Paradigm Revised and Augmented, SKA SwordPlay Books, October 2014, ISBN 978-0985444181

External links[edit]