Karen Lachmann

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameKaren Vilhelmine•Lachmann
Used nameKaren•Lachmann
Born30 May 1916 in Beijing, Beijing (CHN)
Died30 September 1962 in Gentofte, Hovedstaden (DEN)
AffiliationsFK Cirklen, København (DEN) / Trekanten, København (DEN)
NOC Denmark
Medals OG
Gold 0
Silver 1
Bronze 1
Total 2


Karen Lachmann was an accomplished Danish fencer whose career spanned from the early 1930s until the late 1950s. Lachmann was born in Beijing, China, after which her mother remarried and moved the family to København, Denmark. Lachmann and her two sisters were now part of a wealthy Jewish family, which enabled her to take up fencing. Lachmann joined the fencing club FK Cirklen in 1931. Five years later Lachmann competed in the individual foil event at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, where she finished in fifth place. This was followed by a bronze medal in the team foil at the 1937 World Fencing Championships.

During World War II Lachmann worked in management for the Danish Fencing Association. Lachmann was most successful in her fencing career following the war, winning team gold at the 1947 and 1948 World Championships and a silver medal in the individual foil at the 1948 London Olympics. In 1949 she won another team silver at the World Championships before she underwent surgery for a herniated disc. Despite the operation Lachmann returned to international competition, winning another team silver at the 1951 World Championships, an individual bronze medal at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, and an individual gold at the 1954 World Championships. From 1951 to 1957 Lachmann won the national title every year before taking another year off for more surgery. She returned to fencing in 1959 to win her final individual Danish title.

Lachmann served as a board member of Trekanten for 25 years and was their chair from 1955 to 1962. Lachmann also served on the board of the Danish Sports Federation (DIF) in 1962. In 1948 Lachmann became the first person to receive the Colonel H. Sanders Memorial Cup from the DIF. Outside of fencing Lachmann worked as a secretary and worked at København University’s Institute of Pharmacology. Lachmann died in Gentofte in 1962 at the young age of 46.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1936 Summer Olympics Fencing DEN Karen Lachmann
Foil, Individual, Women (Olympic) 5
1948 Summer Olympics Fencing DEN Karen Lachmann
Foil, Individual, Women (Olympic) 2 Silver
1952 Summer Olympics Fencing DEN Karen Lachmann
Foil, Individual, Women (Olympic) 3 Bronze
1956 Summer Olympics Fencing DEN Karen Lachmann
Foil, Individual, Women (Olympic) 6

Special Notes