1952, 1956, 1960, 1964
One of the greatest fencers in British history, Jay competed in four Olympiads in both the epee and foil disciplines, winning two medals. His first Olympic appearance occurred in 1952 (at the age of 21) at the Helsinki Games when he competed exclusively in the epee events. The British team reached the second round before being eliminated while Jay reached the semifinals in the individual competition.
Jay returned to the Olympics in 1956 at the Melbourne Games, and competed in both the epee and foil. In the individual foil event, he advanced to the final pool after finishing third in his semifinal with four victories in seven matches. In the final pool, Jay again won four of his seven matches and finished in fourth place (the bronze medalist won five matches in the finals). In the team foil event, Jay and the British team reached the semifinals before being eliminated by the United States; they officially finished in fifth place. During the Games, Jay was also a member of the British epee team (he did not compete in the individual event). They defeated the U.S. in the first round, 9-7 (Jay won two of four matches), and then qualified for the finals by defeating the Soviet Union in the semifinals. In the final pool, the British team finished fourth after losing to Hungary, Italy, and France.
Jay went to his third Olympiad four years later at the Rome Games, competing in four events. He was more successful in the epee events, winning a silver medal in the team epee. In the individual epee competition, Jay won his semifinal and then finished second in the final pool to capture another silver medal. In the foil events, Jay and the British finished tied for fifth place with France, Poland, and the Netherlands. In the individual foil, Allan won his first-round pool, but did not advance past the quarterfinals. His two silver medals caused the 1960 Official Report of the British Olympic Association to state, "Our outstanding fencer, of course, was Jay who, although he failed to reach the foil final owing to cramp and exhaustion, never lost a bout in the team foil event, was second in the epee individual (losing the title by one hit!) and was the architect of our epee team's success."
Jay's final Olympiad was the 1964 Tokyo Games, where he again competed in both the epee and foil. In the team foil, Jay and his British teammates lost in the first round to Italy and were eliminated from the competition. In the individual event, Jay reached the third round before losing to bronze medalist Daniel Revenu of France, 10-2. In the epee events, Jay was eliminated in the second round in both competitions (the British team was eliminated by Switzerland).
Jay won the gold medal in the individual foil at the 1959 World Championships. One of the world's best fencers for over a decade, Jay began his international career in the early 1950s and won a total of six gold medals in foil and epee events at the 1950 and 1953 Maccabiah Games. Outstanding at both disciplines, Jay was the Great Britain epee champion in 1952, and from 1959-61, and was the country's foil champion in 1963; he also won the gold medal at the 1966 Commonwealth Games in the individual and team foil events.
Jay remained dedicated to fencing after his international career ended. A graduate of Oxford University, he led a contingent of former Oxford fencing stars against the 2001 team, and the "Old Blues" defeated Oxford's Blues! Jay is currently a member of the FIE (Fédération Internationale d'Escrime or International Fencing Federation) Disciplinary Commission. He is also a member of the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. June 30, 1931
Use links below to navigate through the olympics section of Jews In Sports.
Jewish Sports Legends: The International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, by Joseph Siegman (Washington, D.C.: Brassey's, 2000)
encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)
The Olympic Games: Athens 1896-Sydney 2000, (New York: Dorling Kindersley, 1999)
New York Times, July 21-August 2, 1952
New York Times, November 23-December 8, 1956
New York Times, August 27-September 9, 1960
New York Times, October 11-October 25, 1964