1932, 1936, 1948, 1952, 1956
Preis (who had one Jewish parent) was a member of the Austrian fencing team at five Olympiads, and along with with Ilona Scharerer-Elek and Helene Mayer, is considered one of three greatest female fencers in history. Preis first competed in the Olympics at the 1932 Los Angeles Games where she captured the gold medal in the foil. In the gold medal match, she faced British fencer Judy Guinness, who pointed out to the judges that they had missed two touches against her by Preis; thus Ellen won the gold.
Preis returned to the Olympics four years later at the 1936 Berlin Olympics and won the bronze medal in the foil; fellow Jews Scharerer-Elek won the gold medal and Mayer won the silver. Preis also won the bronze medal at the 1948 London Games (there were no Olympics in 1940 or 1944 due to World War II).
Preis continued her Olympic career when she was in her forties, competing in two Olympiads in the 1950s. At the 1952 Helsinki Games, she easily advanced to the semifinals, but was then eliminated after finishing in fifth place in her pool. Her final Olympic Games were in 1956 at Melbourne, where she won her first round pool and then advanced to the finals after a solid semifinal pool. At the age of 40, however, she could not win enough matches in the final pool to medal and placed out of the top six.
Preis was one of the best female fencers in the world in the 1930s and 1940s. She won the gold medal at the World Championships in 1947, 1949, and 1950. She had taken the silver medal in 1935 and the bronze in 1931 and 1937.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. May 6, 1912
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PHOTOGRAPHS AND OTHER IMAGES
New York Times, July 21-August 2, 1952
New York Times, November 23-December 8, 1956