1980 (boycott), 1988, 1996
One of America's best female fencers for over 20 years, Cheris first made the Olympic team in 1980, but did not compete, because the U.S. boycotted the Moscow Olympics in reponse to the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. Eight years later as a member of the U.S. foil team, Cheris finally competed in the Olympics at the 1988 Seoul Games. She was the oldest member of the team at the age of 42. The Americans lost to Hungary in the quarterfinals (5-9), but then defeated South Korea (9-2) to advance to the fifth place match. Although the U.S. tied China, 8-8, the Chinese were awarded fifth place because they had fewer touches received, and Cheris and the U.S. settled for sixth place.
Cheris returned to Olympic competition at the
1996 Atlanta Games, competing in the team epee event; she was the oldest member of the American delegation at the age of 50. Cheris and the American team defeated South Korea in the first round (45-44) but lost to Hungary in the quarterfinals (25-45) and were eliminated. Cheris was an alternate for the U.S. fencing team at the 2000 Sydney Games.
One of America's top female fencers for the past twenty years, Cheris first competed internationally at the 1981 Maccabiah Games, winning a gold in the team competition and a silver in the individual foil. The following year, she competed in the World Championships for the first time; she would compete at the Worlds in the foil in 1982, 1985, and 1987, and in the epee from 1990-1994 (in 1992. the U.S. team finished seventh, their highest epee finish up to that point).
Cheris also competed in the Pan American Games, winning gold medals in the team foil in 1987 and the team epee in 1991. Elaine also received the International Fencing Federation's Gold Medal of Honor in 1993. Her husband Sam coached Stanford University to the 1971 NCAA tournament and served as chief of protocal for the for International Fencing Federation at the 2000 Olympics. Cheris is a member of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. Jan. 8, 1946
Use links below to navigate through the olympics section of Jews In Sports.
Jewish Sports Review, November/December 1997 issue (Volume 1, Issue 4)
New York Times, September 29, 1988
New York Times, July 25, 1996