Axelrod, Albert

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AXELROD, ALBERT (Albie ; 1921–2004), U.S. fencer; one of the greatest American fencers in history, competing in five consecutive Olympics from 1952 to 1968, winning the bronze in 1960. Axelrod was ranked no. 1 in the U.S. in 1955, 1958, 1960, and 1970 (at age 49), no. 2 nine times, no. 3 twice, and among the U.S. top ten from 1942–70, except for three years during World War ii. Axelrod was a member of five National Foil Team Championships (1940, 1950, 1952, 1954, 1958), and five times a member of the National Three-Weapon team championship (1949, 1952, 1954, 1962, 1963).

Born in New York to Russian immigrants, Axelrod learned to fence at Stuyvesant High School and continued fencing at City College after naval service in the Pacific. He won the U.S. Intercollegiate Foil Championship and led ccny to the National Team Foil Championship in 1948.

At the 1956 Olympics, Axelrod competed on a U.S. foil team that was entirely Jewish – Axelrod, Daniel Bukantz, Harold Goldsmith, Nathaniel Lubell, and Byron Krieger. At the 1960 Olympics, when he won his bronze medal at age 39, he defeated 79 opponents in a seven-hour competition held in a heat wave. It was only the fourth-ever individual Olympic fencing medal won by an American and the last in foil through 2004.

Axelrod won two gold medals (1959, 1963) in team foil at the Pan Am Games and is the only men's foil fencer in U.S. history to make the finals of the world championships. He competed in six consecutive *Maccabiah Games from 1957 to 1977. Axelrod also served as U.S. head coach in 1981 and as manager of the team in 1985.

[Elli Wohlgelernter (2nd ed.)]