Gillian Mary SHEEN

Great Britain GBR

Fencing

  • Olympic Medals
    1 G
  • Games participations
    3
  • First Olympic Games
    Helsinki 1952
  • Year of Birth
    1928
Olympic Results

Biography

Gillian Mary SHEEN

Since 1906, when the first British Olympic fencing team arrived in Athens aboard Lord Howard De Walden’s private yacht, until 1956, Britain could claim six silver medals in Olympic fencing events; for the successive Games (1906-1912) the team finished second in the team épée and then Gladys Davies (1924), Muriel Freeman (1928) and Judy Guinness Penn-Hughes (1932) won three successive silver medals in the women’s individual foil. In 1956, 50 years after first competing in the Olympic fencing program, Britain finally won a gold medal due to the efforts of Gillian Sheen, a 28-year-old dental surgeon from University College Hospital, London. Gilllian Sheet first took up the sport at North Foreland School in Kent and won the British Schoolgirls title in 1945, the British Junior Championship in 1947 and her first British senior title in 1949. On leaving school, she attended London University, winning the British Universities title for five years a gold medal at the World Universities Championship in 1951. She made her Olympic début in 1952 and was eliminated in the second round but four years later in Melbourne she was the surprise winner of the gold medal. She edged into the final by defeating the world champion, Lídia Dömölky-Sákovics of Hungary, in a barrage to decide the fourth place in her semi-final pool. In the final Sheen lost her first bout to Olga Orban-Szabo of Romania but won her other six bouts to finish equal first with the Romanian. The gold medal was decided on a barrage between these two and, as Orban had already beating the English girl in the opening bout of the final pool, the Romanian started as favorite. However, Sheen quickly moved into a 3-1 lead and although Orban pulled back 3-2, in a decisive attack Sheen scored another hit to win 4-2. Gillian Sheen went on to win the British Empire and Commonwealth title in 1958 (in 1954 she finished second and in 1962 she finished fifth) and in 1960 she won her tenth and final British championship. Later in 1960 she competed in her third Olympics in Rome when she was eliminated in the second round. Britain’s only Olympic fencing gold medallist continued competitive fencing until 1963 and then, as Mrs. Donaldson, she settled in New York where she joined her husband in a dental practice.

Olympic Results

More results
Olympic Results
Results Event Sport

Rome 1960

#4 p3 r2/4
Foil, Individual
Foil, Individual Fencing
#3 p2 r1/4
Foil, Team
Foil, Team Fencing
Olympic Results
Results Event Sport

Melbourne 1956

G
Foil, Individual
Foil, Individual Fencing
Olympic Results
Results Event Sport

Helsinki 1952

#6 p1 r2/4
Foil, Individual
Foil, Individual Fencing