Two-time Olympian Alexander Massialas kicked off the 2017-18 grand prix series with a gold medal on Sunday in Torino, Italy.
Massialas, 23, easily defeated France’s Enzo Lefort, ranked No. 12 in the world, in the semifinal before meeting No. 2 Timur Safin of Russia in the final, which he won 15-13. Safin had the edge early on, but Massialas was masterful in the second half of the match. He executed better and used his footwork and speed to catch and then overtake Safin, tying the score at 12, before taking the next two points. Safin pulled within one, but a quick move by Massialas earned the winning point.
Lefort and Italy’s Alessio Foconi won the bronze medals.
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At the Olympic Games London 2012, Massialas was the youngest U.S. men’s athlete in any sport and finished 13th individually and fourth with the team. Then in 2016 in Rio he became the first U.S. foil fencer to win an individual silver medal at the Olympics since 1932. He also won bronze with the team, becoming the first U.S. man to win two fencing medals at the same Olympic Games since 1904.
The grand prix series continues next weekend in Doha, Qatar.
Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.