Obituary: Olga Orban-Szabo (ROU)

LAUSANNE, Switz., Jan. 17, 2022—The FIE is saddened to learn of the passing on January 5 of Olga Orban-Szabo (ROU), multiple-time Olympic medallist and world champion and a member of the FIE Hall of Fame.

Born on October 9, 1938 in Cluj, Ms. Szabo was the first Olympic medallist and world champion for Romania, and competed in five Olympic Games (Melbourne 1956, Rome 1960, Tokyo 1964, Mexico City 1968 and Munich 1972). She earned her first Olympic medal, a silver in women’s individual foil, in Melbourne, and then a bronze in women’s team foil in both the Mexico City and Munich Games.

She became individual women’s foil world champion at the 1962 Buenos Aires World Championships. As part of the Romanian women’s foil team (including Maria Vicol, Ileana Gyulai, Ecaterina Stahl and Ana Pascu), she took a gold medal at the 1969 Havana World Championships, another first for her country.

In all, Ms. Orban-Szabo earned 11 Olympic and World Championships medals in women’s foil, including three from the Olympic Games and eight at the World Championships between 1961 and 1970. Prior to that, she was a junior world silver medallist in 1959.

She also won three medals at the Universiade, including individual silver and team gold in 1961 and team silver in 1965.

As member of the army club “Steaua Bucarest”, she won the Romanian national championship seven times, and was awarded the national title of “Emeritus Master of Sport” as well as numerous Romanian orders and titles. She graduated from the Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca and was also a fencing master. Following her retirement from competition in 1972, she worked as a youth fencing coach at her club in Bucharest.

“She was a distinguished Lady of the Romanian fencing team”, stated Marius Florea, Romanian Federation President. “The Romanian Fencing Federation would like to express its deep gratitude for Mrs. Olga Orban-Szabo’s contribution to the foundation of the Romanian fencing family.”

The FIE offers its sincere condolences and expresses its deepest sympathy to Olga Orban-Szabo’s family and friends, the Romanian Fencing Federation and the European Fencing Confederation.

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