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Greg Massialas Named Team USA’s Olympic Coach of the Year

02/16/2021, 2:30pm CST
By Nicole Jomantas

Greg Massialas (far right) with U.S. Men's Foil Team members Miles Chamley-Watson, Race Imboden, Alex Massialas and Gerek Meinhardt after Team USA's bronze medal win at the 2016 Olympic Games.

U.S. Men's Foil Team Coach Greg Massialas.

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee has named U.S. Men’s Foil National Team Coach Greg Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) as Team USA’s Olympic Coach of the Year for 2020 – the first time in history a fencing coach has received the award.

“It's a tremendous honor to be chosen as Team USA Olympic Coach of the Year. Team USA has so many incredible coaches training our athletes in both summer and winter Olympic sports, and I am truly humbled by this award,” Massialas said.

A three-time Olympian himself, Massialas became the head coach of the U.S. Men’s Foil Team in 2011 and has since built the program into an international powerhouse, winning World titles and Olympic medals in both individual and team competition as well as earning the Overall World Cup title as the No. 1 team in the world at the conclusion of the 2019-20, 2018-19, 2017-18 and 2015-16 seasons.

Coming off the squad’s first-ever Senior World Championship title in July of 2019, the U.S. Men’s Foil Team ended the 2019-20 season ranked No. 1 in the world, winning three gold medals and a silver medal at the first four World Cups before the season was ended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The four podium finishes continued a streak of 17 medals on the World Cup circuit by the team, including 13 golds. With only two events remaining before the Tokyo Olympic Games, the squad was poised to enter Tokyo as the No. 1 team in the world and favorites to become the first USA Fencing squad to win gold in the team event at any Olympic Games.  

“It has been quite a ride over these past 10 years as the USA Men's Foil National Coach, and all our National Team athletes share in this award. We have worked together as a unified team, to become World Champions, and ranked No. 1 in the World going into the Tokyo Olympics,” Massialas said.

Individually, Massialas has led the program to outstanding success as well with four Americans ranked among the top eight in the world – the most top-eight fencers of any country in any weapon. During the first five events of the season, U.S. men’s foil fencers earned a total of six individual medals, including a gold-silver-bronze finish at the season’s only Grand Prix in February where Team USA’s Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.), Alex Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) and Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.) stood on the podium. Meinhardt and Massialas, both the personal students of Coach Massialas, earned two individual medals during the season with Imboden and Nick Itkin (Los Angeles, Calif.) each earning individual podiums as well. Meinhardt and Massialas are currently ranked No. 3 and No. 5 in the world with Itkin and Imboden ranked No. 7 and No. 8.

Coach Massialas and the U.S. Men’s Foil Team will return to international competition for the first time in a year from March 19-23 in Qatar at the Doha Grand Prix in preparation for the Tokyo Olympic Games in July.

“It takes a village, and we are blessed to have the support of all the personal coaches, the USA Fencing staff, our outstanding squad manager, and our trainer extraordinaire. Working together as a group, Team USA is looking forward to achieving amazing things this summer at the Tokyo Olympic Games,” Coach Massialas said.

Massialas was one of seven coaches recognized by the USOPC on Tuesday, spanning four winter and four summer sports. Award winners were nominated by their respective NGB with results from October 2019 – October 2020 considered by the USOPC panel.

The complete honoree list is as follows:

Olympic Coach of the Year
Greg Massialas (Fencing)

Paralympic Coach of the Year
Michel Assouline (Para-equestrian)

Development Coach of the Year
Dana Skelton (Swimming)

College Coach of the Year
John Tanner (Water Polo)

Volunteer Coach of the Year
Cherise Wilkins (Speedskating)

Service Provider of the Year
Gillian Bower (Alpine, Cross-Country, Freeski, Freestyle, Snowboard)

Coach Educator of the Year
Chris Packert (Alpine, Cross-Country, Freeski, Snowboard, Freestyle)

Doc Counsilman Science Award
Jeff Lackie (U.S. Ski & Snowboard)

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