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Team Americas Wins Bronze in Singapore

08/19/2010, 9:04am CDT
By No Author

On Wednesday, fencers competed not for their countries but instead for their continent in the mixed team event at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games. Team USA joined forces with Canada to form the America 1 team, and the six fencers will now head back to North America with bronze medals.

Each squad in the nine-team field was comprised of three girls and three boys. America 1 included Will Spear (Wynantskill, N.Y.), Katherine Holmes (Washington, D.C.), Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) and Celina Merza (Wayne, N.J.), alongside Alanna Goldie and Alexandre Lyssov of Canada.

America 1 defeated Asia-Oceania 1, 30-24, to capture bronze.

“We knew each other before the competition because coming from the USA and Canada, well...we all speak English,” Massialas said. “There is no language barrier. We have seen each other before. We worked and acted as a team.”

Europe 1 and Europe 2 took gold and silver, respectively. America 2, which included U.S. fencer Mona Shaito (Garland, Texas), finished seventh. Shaito fenced along side athletes from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Cuba and El Salvador.

Not only did America 1 have to quickly unite as a team, they also had to coordinate a team cheer.

“We actually had two [cheers],” Massailas said. “We started off the day with ‘One, two, three...Americas!’But then we thought it was getting old so we came up with ‘One, two, three...USA! CAN!’”

Among the crowd for the spirited team event was International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge and IOC member Prince Albert II of Monaco. Both witnessed the unifying force of the Olympic Movement first-hand, a sentiment shared among the athletes.

“It was cool to compete as a country, but on the other hand to compete as a team (was also cool), because we got to meet other athletes and make new friends,” Massialas said. “We embraced the Olympic spirit.”

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