Seligman, Edgar : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Seligman, Edgar


Country Represented:
Great Britain

Years Competed:
1906, 1908, 1912, 1920, 1924

Medals Received:

Olympic Info:
An artist by profession, Seligman competed in five Olympiads as a member of the British fencing team. He first competed at the 1906 "Intercalated Games" held in Athens to renew interest in the Olympic Games. Although considered "unofficial," the Games attracted 900 athletes from 20 countries. The Games succeeded in renewing interest in the Olympics and Seligman competed in his first "official" Olympiad two years later at the 1908 London Games.

With England the host country in 1908, Seligman and his teammates won the silver medal in the team epee competition (they defeated Belgium and Denmark to win the silver). Seligman was not successful in the individual epee, however, losing in the first round. The Official Report of the Olympics stated that his "...failure was unaccountable and naturally caused disappointment."

Four years later at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, Seligman captained the British fencing team, competed in three events, and won another medal (he reached the finals in all three of his events). In the team epee competition, Seligman and the British team advanced to the finals and then won the silver after tying with Holland and Sweden (Belgium took the gold); Britain was awarded second place because they had fewer hits received than either of the other teams. In the individual epee, Seligman finished sixth overall after winning only two of seven matches in the final round. He also competed in the individual foil event and won three of seven matches in the finals to finish in sixth place.

At the 1920 Antwerp Games (there were no Olympics in 1916 due to World War I), Edgar was again the British captain and finished in seventh place in the team foil competition, and fifth in the team epee.

At the 1924 Paris Games, his final Olympiad, Seligman was captain for a third time and had a good chance at the gold medal in the individual foil event. In the first three rounds of the competition, he won 12 of 13 matches and easily advanced to the finals. Unfortunately, according to the The Olympic Games of 1924, British Report, " the final pool of the individual foil event, he [Seligman] slipped in the course of his second fight and strained his leg, with the result that he was compelled to retire - a most unfortunate happening, since he had previously won his fight against Roger Ducret of France, the eventual Olympic winner."

In Paris, Seligman also managed to compete in the individual sabre and team foil events. In the individual sabre, he finished third in his elimination pool, but then forfeited in the semifinals. The British team lost to Belgium (12-16) and Argentina (11-16) in the team sabre event and was eliminated in the quarterfinals; Seligman fenced in both matches and won six of eight bouts combined. He was also scheduled to participate in the team epee and team sabre, but his injury did not allow him to compete.

Career Highlights:
Seligman was the British epee champion in 1904 and 1906, the foil champion in 1906-1907, and the sabre champion in 1923 and 1924. Edgar fought in the Boer War, and his brother was Brigadier General Herbert Seligman.

Birth and Death Dates:


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encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)
The Jewish Almanac, edited by Richard Siegel and Carl Rheins (New York: Bantam Books, 1980)