The U.S. Men’s Foil Fencing Team is headed for the gold—and it largely has two Bay Area athletes to thank for its success. Ranked second in the world heading into the summer Olympic Games, the winning team of four includes two fencers from San Francisco.
Alexander Massialas and Gerek Meinhardt, who also competed in the 2012 Olympics, were born and brought up in the Mission District and have continued to live there ever since.
Meinhardt, who is currently ranked as second in the U.S. and third in the world, wants this victory not just for himself, but for his city.
“You could ask any of my friends or the fencers out there; I’m so proud to be from San Francisco it’s unbelievable,” Meinhardt said. “If I was able to bring back one or even two golds from the Olympics back to my city — that would be an amazing feeling.”
Many consider the U.S. Foil team to be the prohibitive favorite, previously ranking as first in the world in 2014. Meinhardt said the team “has full expectation to medal.”
Massialas and Meinhardt, along with Miles Chamley-Watson and Race Imboden from New York, make up the 2016 U.S. Men’s Foil Fencing Team.
Massialas, a current junior at Stanford University, is ranked as the number one fencer in the world. Although both fencers have the potential to win gold individually, gold for the team is their main goal.
Massialas’ father, Greg, has guided the U.S. Olympic Foil squad since 2008, and they have put all of their effort into the team for the upcoming games.
“The bottom line in my 10-year plan was Olympic champions, so hopefully Rio is a culmination of that sort of effort,” Massialas said. “All that will kind of come to a direct line in Rio, and this is what we want—to come back with some gold medals.”