Hall of Fame honour for Australian fencer Helen Smith
11 February 2013
Three-time Australian Olympic fencer Helen Smith has been inducted into the newly established International Fencing Federation’s (FIE) Hall of Fame.
Celebrating the Centenary of Fencing in 2013, the FIE bestowed the honour on Smith and 99 others as they became the Hall of Fame’s inaugural inductees.
The induction for Smith was recognition of her ongoing role in the sport in which she has competed, officiated, coached and been an administrator of for over four decades.
Born in the Victorian rural town of Tawonga, Smith began competing in the sport at the age of 14 and went on to make her Olympic debut at the 1976 Montreal Games where she finished 17th in the individual foil.
She returned to compete at the 1980 Moscow Games and the 1984 Los Angeles Games where she finished 25th and 29th respectively, in the process becoming Australia’s only female fencer to have competed at three Olympic Games.
Outside of the Olympic arena she was a dominant force in the sport throughout her career. Smith was a nine-time Australian Champion, Oceania Champion, and gold medallist at the 1974 and 1978 Commonwealth Championships in the women’s team and individual foil events.
She began officiating at national and international events and also helped the next generation of fencers by passing on her knowledge of the sport as a revered coach.
After retiring from competition at the age of 31, she took up a career in sports administration as she continued to promote the sport she loved both on home soil and abroad.
Her roles as an administrator in Australia included being the President of the Australian Fencing Federation, a national selector for 20 years, as well as Chair of the Coaching and High Performance Program Commission from 2000 to 2009.
At an international level Smith remains President of the Commonwealth Fencing Federation, President of the Oceania Fencing Federation, is a member of the Executive Committee of the Asian Fencing Confederation and has had many roles with the FIE.
Smith has also championed the Olympic movement in her home state, being a member of the Victorian Olympic Council from 2001-2009 where she played a highly active role in the Education Commission.
The announcement of the Hall of Fame begins the countdown to November 29th in which it will be 100 years to the day since the FIE was established.