Nick Itkin celebrates at the FIE Grand Prix on Dec. 1, 2017 in Turin, Italy.
Saturday, in the first senior world cup competition of the 2018-19 season, Itkin won a bronze medal in Bonn, Germany, in a tournament stacked with Olympians.
Itkin, a Los Angeles native who was seeded No. 78 in the two-day individual tournament, defeated top-seeded and 2018 world champion Alessio Foconi of Italy in a thrilling 15-14 match in the round of 16, then beat No. 7 seed Daniele Garozzo of Italy in the quarterfinals.
Itkin’s run against the Italians finally came to an end in the semifinals, when he lost to No. 4 seed Andrea Cassara of Italy, 15-10.
Itkin’s championship at the 2018 junior world championships was the first gold medal in men’s foil for the U.S. since two-time Olympic medalist Alex Massialas did so in 2013.
Itkin, 19, became the first fencer in U.S. history to win a junior world championship and NCAA championship in the same year. He won the NCAA title as a freshman at Notre Dame.
Two-time Olympian Miles Chamley-Watson nearly won a medal in Saturday’s season opener. After defeating Massialas in the round of 16 by a 15-13 score, he lost to Richard Kruse of Great Britain in the quarterfinals by a 15-11 score.
Chamley-Watson is on the top-seeded U.S. team which will compete in the team tournament on Sunday. Joining him are Massialas, Race Imboden and Gerek Meinhardt.
Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is sports editor of the Cape Cod Times and a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.