Vitale, Sylvio

Hall of Famer Ralph Zimmerman with his coach Sylvio Vitale at M.I.T



A romantic Italian nature, commanded by it, Silvio Vitale took fencing as his sport activity when on art studies in Rome. Returning to his native Boston, Silvio joined the then very strong fencing activity in the City and New England. He became part of it not only as a participant but also as a promoter helping aspiring young fencers along the difficult and long road of fencing excellence.
When Joe Levis-silver medalist at the 1932 Olympics retired as fencing coach of MIT in 1950; it was Silvio to whom the task for continuing the correct fencing teaching was intrusted. Silvio understood the principles and philosophy of that prominent educational institution where sports are supplement in the formation of new generations of intellectuals, techno-logists/crats and other. Gamesmanship was certainly not Silvio's bag, but sportsmanship and good manners most certainly yes. He taught fencing as a high skill sport which anyone could learn, but high level performances was left to those students with will, ambition and especially sacrifice of time, which a MIT student could hardly afford.
Among fencing coaches, Silvio will be remembered as a colleague gentleman whether it be as a competing team coach, or as an individual co-professional. In his 27 years as head fencing coach at M.I.T. Silvio passed on to his pupils not only the skill of fencing and interest in sports but also a very important component of life, which is gentleman's behavior and candid civilized relationship of mankind. So I have you, Silvio, and for sure, hundreds of your fencers in our Ad Vitam memory. So long, fellow!
Silvio died February 7, 1978


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