By Karen Price | Jan. 12, 2020, 1:37 p.m. (ET)
(L-R) Race Imboden, Nick Itkin, Alexander Massialas and Gerek Meinhardt celebrate with their team gold medals at the men's foil world cup on Jan. 12, 2020 in Paris.

 

The U.S. men’s foil fencing team continued its world cup medal streak and launched what could turn into a new winning streak on Sunday in Paris.

The top-ranked men not only won world cup medal No. 14 in a row but also earned the gold in a come-from-behind victory over Italy, 45-36.

In their last outing, the U.S. men saw their six-competition winning streak come to an end but nonetheless won silver in the final world cup of 2019. On Sunday, they defeated Hungary, 45-21, then Japan, 45-29, and Hong Kong, 45-27, to face Italy for the title and the chance to return to their winning ways.

The No. 1-ranked U.S. fell behind from the first bout and struggled to catch up throughout the first third of the match. In his second time on the piste, world No. 4 and two-time Olympian Race Imboden lifted the U.S. from an eight- to a one-point deficit, dominating his bout against Alessio Foconi.

Italy held an 18-16 lead when Nick Itkin stepped back in to face Daniele Garozzo. It was a rematch of the previous day’s gold-medal individual meeting, which saw Itkin win his first senior individual world cup. Itkin tied it 18-18, then gave the U.S. its first lead of the match, but the U.S. trailed, 25-23, for No. 9 Alexander Massialas taking over against Andrea Cassara.

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The tide was already turning in favor of the U.S., and with a commanding performance Massialas put them ahead 30-26 for Itkin to come back in. He increased the lead to eight, Imboden kept it going and Massialas put the final stamp on the victory. No. 8 Gerek Meinhardt did not compete in the final.

The impressive run for the U.S. dates back to the final competition of the 2016-17 season and has continued through all five events of both the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons, as well as the first three of 2019-20. Included in the six-event winning streak that ended in December was a gold medal at the world championships. The U.S. has already secured a team quota spot for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic and Paralympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.