Ellen Preis was born in Berlin to a German mother and an Austrian father. At age 13, she went to Vienna to her aunt’s fencing school - Wilhelmine Werdnik had been Germany’s first fencing champion. Having a double nationality, she elected to compete for Austria when Germany was not interested, having several top fencers. After a bronze medal at the 1931 European Championships, her definitive breakthrough came at the 1932 Olympics. After a tie in the final pool with Judy Guinness (of the famed brewer’s family), she beat her in a fence-off for the gold. This was the start of a long and successful career. She won another Olympic medal at the Berlin Games and even became German champion following the Austrian Anschluß. In Austria she won 17 individual titles in foil between 1929 and 1957. She was perhaps the strongest fencer immediately after the war, winning world titles in 1947, 1949 and 1950. She was unable to crown her dominance with a second Olympic title, finishing third to Hungary’s Ilona Elek in London. She competed in her last Olympics in 1956, when she finished 7th, aged 44. After her active career, she became a fencing teacher, working with many actors who had to fight in films, plays and operas. She was also a professor at Vienna’s Music and Art College. A fervent traveller, she attended the 2004 Olympics at age 92.