1908, 1912, 1920, 1924
gold, silver, bronze
A brilliant epee fencer, Anspach competed in four Olympiads for the Belgian fencing team. His first Olympic appearance was at the 1908 London Games where he competed in both the team and individual epee events. Belgium's top fencer at the Games, Anspach helped his country defeat Sweden (11-6), and Italy (9-8), before they lost to France (7-9). Belgium then defeated Britain (9-8) to capture the silver medal in the team competition; Anspach won 10 of 15 bouts. He then competed in the indvidual competition, and reached the finals (he won his second round and semifinal pool), where he finished fifth overall.
Four years later, Anspach was outstanding at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, capturing gold medals, in both the individual and team epee competitions. Among his teammates were his brother Henri Anspach, famed artist Jacques Ochs, and Gaston Salmon. In the individual event, Paul won six of seven 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).
Anspach's next Olympic competition was at the 1920 Antwerp Games (there were no Olympics in 1916 due to World War I), where he won a silver medal in the team epee competition. His final Olympiad was the 1924 Paris Games where he competed in the individual epee and reached the finals. He defeated four of eleven opponents in the final round and officially finished in ninth place. In the team epee, Anspach again competed in the finals and Belgium finished in second place. They defeated Italy (11-5), Portugal (9-7), but lost to France (6-10) and were awarded the silver medal. Anspach only fenced against Portugal in the finals and won one bout.
Anspach, who began his athletic career as a soccer player, was the captain of the Belgian National Epee team from 1909-1928. A major contributor to the formation of the Belgian Olympic Committee in 1906, he later served as the president of the International Fencing Association from 1933-1948; he had previously served as Secretary-General. During World War II, the Association's activity was suspended when the Gestapo removed its files (never to be found). In 1976, Anspach was awarded the silver medal of the Olympic Order.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. 1882 - d. Aug. 28, 1991
Use links below to navigate through the olympics section of Jews In Sports.
encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)
The Olympic Games: Athens 1896-Sydney 2000, (New York: Dorling Kindersley, 1999)