New-York Historical Society's Bill Shannon Dictionary of New York Sports

Category Archives: Fencing

Katy Bilodeaux


Katy Bilodeaux (Fencing.  Born, Boston, MA, March 17, 1965.)  Doubtless the finest woman fencer ever from a metropolitan area college, Caitlin Bilodeaux came to Columbia from a Concord, Mass., family of athletes and began fencing at age nine.  Bilodeaux became the first woman ever to win the national collegiate championship twice (1985 and 1987) at a time when women fenced only foil (epee and sabre have since been added).  She was a four-time junior national champion at Carlisle H.S. in Concord, and was an immediate sensation at Columbia with a 61-1 record as a freshman.  Although Bilodeaux was 56-0 during the 1985-86 regular season, she failed to defend her national title, losing to Notre Dame’s Molly Sullivan in the final.  In 1987, she won her second championship by defeating Sullivan, 8-1, in the last bout.  Bilodeaux’s two older sisters, Becky (Cornell) and Mary (Temple) both earned All-America mention as well, creating perhaps a unique family distinction.

Norman Armitage


Norman Armitage (Fencing.  Born, Albany, NY, Jan. 1, 1907; died, New York, NY, Mar. 14, 1972.)  One of the greatest sabremen ever produced in America, Dr. Norman Cudworth Armitage was the U.S. champion in his weapon 10 times in 16 years.  His career was so distinguished that Armitage was twice chosen as the standardbearer for U.S. squads at the Olympic Games, carrying the flag in the opening ceremonies in both Helsinki (1952) and Melbourne (1956). Armitage began fencing as an undergraduate at Columbia and made the U.S. squad for the 1928 Olympiad at Amsterdam.  He was to appear in every Summer Olympics held in the next 28 years (1936, 1948, 1952, 1956).  After his graduation in 1927, Armitage did graduate work at Columbia to earn degrees in science and chemical engineering.  He won his first national championship in sabre in 1930.  He was the national individual champion in 1934, 1935, and 1936 while earning a law degree at New York University, which was granted in 1937.  Two years later, he won his fifth national sabre title.  Armitage was a member of the U.S. national three-weapon championship teams for the Fencers Club of New York four times (1929, 1932, 1933, and 1935), the team sabre champions in 1934 and the team epee champions in 1939.  In 1940, he began a run of four straight individual national titles in sabre and, after losing the final in 1944, won his 10th and final individual championship in 1945.

Hugh Alessandroni


Hugh Alessandroni (Fencing.  Born, New York, NY, Jan. 15, 1908; died, Little Silver, NJ, Mar. 30, 1989.)  A bronze medalist at the 1932 Olympiad, Hugh Vincent Alessandroni was the top American foil fencer of the 1930s.  Also a member of the U.S. team at Berlin in 1936, Alessandroni fenced at Columbia but really came into his own with the Fencers Club of New York.  Following his graduation in 1929, he won nine national foil championships, including individual titles in 1934 and 1936.  Alessandroni was a member of the national foil team champions five times (1931-33, 1935-36) and also was the foil member of the three-weapon team champions in 1932 and 1935.

Albie Axelrod


Albie Axelrod (Fencing.  Born, The Bronx, NY, Feb. 21, 1921; died, The Bronx, NY, Feb. 24, 2004.)  An N.C.A.A. champion in 1948 while fencing for City College, Albert Axelrod became only the fourth medalist in the sport for the U.S. at the Olympics in 1960.  Axelrod, while fencing for the Fencers Club, was the national foil champion in 1955, 1958, 1960, and 1970.  All told, he won 15 national team and individual foil titles.  Axelrod was part of five consecutive U.S. Olympic fencing teams, although he medalled only at the Rome Games (1960).  Except for three years of naval service during World War II, he was ranked in the top 10 in foil every year from 1942-70.

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The Bill Shannon Biographical Dictionary of New York Sports is an open database of sports biographies maintained by Jordan Sprechman and Marty Appel. We welcome public and scholarly contributions and suggestions.

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A prolific author, wire service sports reporter, long time Major League Baseball official scorer, football statistician, sports museum founder, theatrical agency owner and public ... read more

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