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Fechter killed his opponent: Behr reconciled with fate by welcoming Ukrainian refugees

Sport Fencer killed his opponent

Behr reconciled with fate by welcoming Ukrainian refugees

Tragic fencing accident at the 1982 World Cup - Matthias Behr Tragic fencing accident at the 1982 World Cup - Matthias Behr

Foil fencer Matthias Behr after the tragic accident at the 1982 World Cup in Rome

Which: pa / UPI

In 1982, Matthias Behr’s aluminum blade broke in a world championship match. He penetrates the head of his opponent Vladimir Smirnov and kills him. 40 years later, the German manages to give something back: he complies with a widow’s request and welcomes Ukrainian refugees.

AndThey were dramatic scenes on the planche. At the 1982 World Fencing Championships in Rome, Matthias Behr fought in the team competition against his Soviet opponent Vladimir Smirnov. During a simultaneous attack, both athletes collided with great force. Behr’s aluminum blade broke when he hit it. He lost control, the blunt blade penetrating Smirnov’s mask, which was barely porous. The stump entered the head through the eye. Smirnov fell into a coma and eventually succumbed to his severe injury.

Since then, Behr hasn’t let go of the tragic accident. He feels guilty, even though he is not responsible for the accident. In 2017, 35 years after the accident, she met Emma, ​​Smirnov’s widow, who, like her late husband, is Ukrainian. Memories of the fatal accident never let go of Behr, who suffered from depression for a long time and toyed with suicidal thoughts. “I’m always there. Even if I walk into a liquor store and see vodka labeled Smirnov, thoughts of what happened immediately come to mind,” Behr said.

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German foil fencer Matthias Behr after the tragic accident at the 1982 World Cup in Rome

Behr has maintained contact with Emma Smirnow since the 2017 meeting. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, he asked her to welcome relatives in Tauberbischofsheim. Behr complied with the request and gave the fugitives a temporary home.

“Finally I can give something back”

By welcoming Ukrainian war refugees to his family, Behr finally feels reconciled with destiny. “For me, the starting point has arrived. For me it was a gift: I can finally give something back, ”the 67-year-old told the magazine“ Bunte ”.

Talk show 'Markus Lanz' in Hamburg

Behr 35 years after the accident

Source: pa / Geisler-Fotopress / gbrci

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The tragic accident led to many changes in the rules of fencing. Shatterproof blades and new more stable safety vests have been introduced.

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