Henry Breckinridge

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games • Non-starter
Full nameHenry Skillman•Breckinridge
Used nameHenry•Breckinridge
Born25 May 1886 in Chicago, Illinois (USA)
Died2 May 1960 in New York, New York (USA)
Measurements185 cm
AffiliationsWashington Fencers Club
NOC United States
Medals OG
Gold 0
Silver 0
Bronze 1
Total 1


Henry Breckinridge was a member of both the foil and épée team at the 1920 Olympics. At foil, he won the deciding bout that gave the U.S. a victory over Great Britain, and with it, the bronze medal. Breckinridge won only one AFLA national individual championship, that in outdoor épée in 1924, but he was a member of nine national championship teams, while representing either the Washington Fencers Club or the New York Fencers Club. Breckinridge achieved prominence early in life. At 27 he was asked to join President Wilson’s first cabinet as the Assistant Secretary of War, and he served in that post from 1913 until 1916. He then fought in World War I, commanding a battalion and seeing action at Vosges, St. Mihiel, and the Meuse Argonne, leaving the service as a lieutenant colonel. Breckinridge, a Princeton grad who went on to Harvard Law, then took up the practice of law in New York. His most famous client was Charles Lindbergh and when Lindbergh’s infant son was kidnapped in 1932, Breckinridge, acting as both friend and counsel, was responsible for the conduct of the lengthy and futile ransom negotiations and the widespread attempts to make contact with the kidnapper. In 1934 Breckinridge ran for the U.S. Senate from New York but was defeated. In 1936 he entered several Democratic Presidential primaries, but with little success and he dropped out of contention for the nomination. He then returned to his law practice.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1920 Summer Olympics Fencing USA Henry Breckinridge
Foil, Individual, Men (Olympic) =4 p1 r1/3
Foil, Team, Men (Olympic) United States 3 Bronze
Épée, Individual, Men (Olympic) =10 p2 r3/4
Épée, Team, Men (Olympic) United States 6
1924 Summer Olympics Fencing USA Henry Breckinridge
Épée, Team, Men (Olympic) United States DNS
1928 Summer Olympics Fencing USA Henry Breckinridge
Foil, Team, Men (Olympic) United States =5
Épée, Team, Men (Olympic) United States =5

Olympic family relations