Alexander Massialas poses at the Team USA Tokyo 2020 Olympic shoot on November 23, 2019 in West Hollywood, California.
The journey to the Olympic Games is never just about the individual. Behind the flashing lights and big headlines are always the friends, family and supporters who make it all possible. Although Baba has been my coach ever since I started fencing and Mama has always done all the hard work that nobody sees, my biggest supporter is – and always has been – you. Thank you for always being the loudest voice in the room who can drown out a whole stadium just by yourself.
I still vividly remember when I was losing, 14-8, in the quarterfinals at the Olympic Games Rio 2016, though many were starting to lose faith in me, the loudest voice from the stands was you. No matter the score, environment or circumstance, I can always count on you to believe in me. As the bout began slipping away from me and the Americans grew quieter, you only got louder. Little by little, I was able to claw myself back in the bout and as the crowd started to come back to life, you still were the loudest and only voice I could distinctly place. Ultimately, I was able to win, 15-14, to make the medal rounds. Everyone was shocked that I came back and won that bout. Even some close friends and family were surprised I was able to pull it off, but you never were. Thank you for always believing in me regardless of the odds.
Although, from the outside, people often say we are following in Baba’s footsteps, I think that anyone who knows you can attest to the fact that you always do things your own way. I may not have always been as vocal as I should have been when we were growing up, but I’m proud of you for paving your own way in the fencing world, never letting anyone tell you what you can or can’t do. Whether it was choosing course loads in high school, going through the college admission process, or balancing work and fencing life, you never let anyone make decisions for you and you never cared if anyone said you were doing too much. You always worked your hardest to prove everyone wrong. Thank you for always being unabashedly “you,” and I’m positive that your belief in your own capabilities and who you are will take you to great and exciting places, both in and outside of the fencing world.