(L-R) Race Imboden, Miles Chamley-Watson, Greek Meinhardt and Alexander Massialas celebrate winning the 2019 FIE World Championships on July 23, 2019 in Budapest, Hungary.
The U.S. men’s foil fencing team is runner-up no more.
After winning the silver medal in the team competition the past two years in a row at the FIE World Championships, the U.S. won its first gold medal Tuesday in Budapest, Hungary.
Facing a difficult French team that includes newly-crowned individual champion Enzo Lefort, the U.S. men jumped out to an early lead and never looked back en route to their 45-32 win and first world title, all while confirming themselves as the one-year-out favorites to win Olympic gold in 2020.
Race Imboden and Alexander Massialas won the first two bouts to give the U.S. a five-point lead and after Gerek Meinhardt’s 5-2 win over veteran Erwann Le Pechoux in the fifth bout the U.S. held a 25-17 lead. France pulled Maxime Pauty and substituted Julien Mertine to face Meinhardt in the seventh bout, during which Team USA increased its lead to double-digits. Lefort scored four unanswered points and defeated Imboden in the second-to-last bout, but it was of little consequence. Massialas took over against Le Pechoux with a 40-30 lead and it was just a matter of time before he was swamped by his teammates celebrating on the piste.
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Prior to this year the men’s foil team also won the silver medal in 2013 in addition to the same result in 2017 and 2018. The only other U.S. men’s fencing team to win gold at the world championships was the epee team in 2012.
Team USA has podiumed in men’s team foil at 11 straight world cups, covering three seasons, including three of five available golds this season.
The U.S. defeated China in the quarterfinals and Russia in the semifinals by identical 45-30 scores to reach the final against France. On Monday, the U.S. women’s foil team beat France for the bronze medal.
Imboden and Massialas are two-time Olympians while Meinhardt has been to three Olympic Games. Along with Miles Chamley-Watson, who did not compete in Tuesday’s final but did fence in the semifinal against Russia, the four won the bronze medal at the Olympic Games Rio 2016.
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.