Alex Massialas falls short of historic U.S. fencing gold in foil

Fourth-Place Medal
Alex Massialas (Getty Images)
Alex Massialas (Getty Images)

RIO DE JANEIRO – Alex Massialas fell short of becoming the first American men’s fencer to win a gold medal in the three current Olympic disciplines, earning the silver medal in men’s individual foil at the Rio Olympics on Sunday afternoon.

Enrico Garozzo of Italy won gold with a 15-11 victory over Massialas, holding off a comeback after the American went down 14-7.

The last gold medal for an individual men’s American fencer was in 1904, who won gold in singlestick, a one-time-only discipline that was closer to cane fighting than swordsmanship. No American men’s fencer has won gold in foil, epee or sabre.

Massialas entered the tournament as the No. 1 ranked fencer in men’s foil. He’s trained under his father, three-time Olympian Greg Massialas, since he was seven years old.

“Every since I was a kid, I wanted to win gold. Ever since I started dreaming about the Olympics,” said Alex Massialas before the event.

Massialas needed one of the greatest comebacks in recent memory for an American Olympic fencer to stay alive earlier in the tournament.

In the quarterfinals, he struggled against Giorgio Avola of Italy, who won gold in team foil at the 2012 London Olympics. Avola went on a 9-3 scoring run that left him one touch away from advancing to the final four. But Massialas rallied mightily, answering Avola with a 7-0 comeback to win the match, 15-14.

“Crazier comebacks have been made, and I’ve made a few myself. But knowing this is the biggest stage, that I had to leave it all out on the strip, that I could do it no matter way … the whole point of the Olympics is being able to succeed no matter what. Just focusing on the right actions can help you get out of the most seemingly impossible situations.

The semifinals saw him defeat Richard Kruse in the semifinals, 15-9, overcoming fatigue from his expended energy in the quarterfinals to dispatch his opponent from Great Britain.

“Obviously I’m tired. But I’m fighting through it,” he said.

Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.



What to Read Next