Newark, New Jersey's Robert Nielsen arrived at Columbia
already a champion, having won the state championship in the discus as a high
At Columbia, the championships kept coming.
A master fencer, Nielsen was one of the best foilists in the
distinguished history of the Columbia fencing program. He made Columbia history during his sophomore
year in 1949, becoming the first Columbia fencer to earn All-America status.
In 1950, the Columbia fencing team went 24-3 as Nielsen
dueled his way to the top-winning the National championship in foil, another
Named captain of the 1951 squad, Nielsen led the Lions to
their first-ever NCAA Fencing Championships, repeating as national champion in
foil. That year the Lions dominated
intercollegiate play with a 31-1 record, also earning the Lions their first IFA
Nielsen's success did not go unnoticed as he earned a spot
on the Columbia College Today Dream
Team for men's fencing following his collegiate run.
A three-time All-American, Nielsen continued his athletic
exploits over his lifetime-competing as a senior fencer, and coaching high
school athletics and local fencing clubs.
Post-college, Nielsen joined the Air Force and continued to
fence, earning Texas and California Open titles and the New England Foil
Championship in 1965. He remained an
avid fencer, winning the Alabama State Foil Championship at the age of 61 and
the United States Fencing Association Men's Foil Senior Event Championship on
two occasions. Nielsen also dedicated
time to coaching high school discus and shot put and his hometown fencing club.