Ion Drîmbă already had two Olympics under his belt when he entered the 1968 Olympic with serious hopes for a medal. The Romanian foil team had captured the 1967 world title, and were hoping to repeat that performance in Mexico. But the team was eliminated in a close semi-final with the USSR, and placed fourth. Drîmbă still achieved success in the individual event, where he only lost two bouts to win the Olympic title - the first Romanian fencer to do so. After winning a team bronze medal at the 1969 World Championships, he defected to the west in 1970. He started working as a fencing coach in West Germany, the United States, Brazil and Venezuela. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, he briefly returned to Romania, unsuccessfully attempting to become president of the Romanian NOC. Drîmbă won one Romanian title in sabre (1964) and three in foil (1964, 1968-69).