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Massialas Falls to Foil, Wins Silver

08/18/2010, 2:12am CDT
By No Author

Holmes Finishes Fourth at Singapore Youth Olympics

SINGAPORE -- Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) may have lost to Edoardo Luperi of Italy in the boy’s foil gold medal final at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games, but the international fencing scene has gained a budding rivalry between two promising young fencers. Luperi outlasted Massialas, 15-11, exacting revenge after losing to the American in April in the final bout at the 2010 Cadet World Championships in Azerbaijan.

“I’ve fenced [Luperi] once individually and once in team before,” Massialas said. “We’ve always been around each other, we know each other pretty well. We’ve been competing with each other for at least a few years now. He’s young, I’m young, and we’re both striving to do the best and make the Olympic team.”

Massialas, 16, reached the final round at the International Convention Center after defeating eventual bronze medalist Kwang Hyun lee of Korea, 15-8, in the semifinals. The son of three-time Olympic fencer, Gregory Massialas, defeated Alexander Tofalides of Great Britain, 15-12, in the quarterfinal round after automatically qualifying through the Round of 16. Massialas won all six pool play bouts to begin the day.

“Alexander had a good day all day long,” said U.S. National Team Coach Sergey Isayenko. “He had some tough matches, but he dealt with them accordingly. In the gold medal match, he was stuck on doing certain things, maybe feeling comfortable, and he ended up getting hit on the same action.”

In women’s foil action, Katharine Holmes (Washington, D.C.) barely missed out on the podium, losing the bronze medal to Martyna Swatowska of Poland, 15-9. The 17-year-old National Cathedral School student fell to eventual silver medalist Alberta Santuccio of Italy in the semifinals, 9-8. She defeated Amalia Tataran of Romania, 15-12 in the quarterfinals after receiving a bye through the Round of 16. Holmes won five of six pool play matches, including a win over Santuccio and a loss to eventual gold medalist Sheng Lin of China.

“Today Katharine really didn’t fence the best that she could have,” Isayenko said. “But she did well, and she overcame situations throughout most of the pool. It was a tough pool, and she came through. I was very proud. She fought really hard.”

The inaugural Youth Games feature more than 3,000 athletes representing 205 National Organizing Committees across 26 summer sports from Aug. 14-26.

For complete results from the inaugural Youth Olympic Games, visit

This has been a very successful summer for the high school junior. Massialas, who fences for the Massialas Foundation fencing club run by his father, won an individual bronze medal and team gold medal at the 2010 Pan American Championships in San Jose, Costa Rica, Aug. 2-7. He added two more gold medals and a silver at the 2010 USFA Summer National Championships in Atlanta, Ga., July 4-13.

“It’s been a cool experience coming to Singapore for these first Youth Olympic Games,” Massialas said. “I’m obviously disappointed that I couldn’t repeat a gold medal like at World Championships. But, on the other hand, it’s still a medal and a lot of people would kill to be in my position. I’ll get [Luperi] the next time.”

Tuesday marks the third day of fencing competition in Singapore and the final day for individual fencers. Fencers from various countries and weapons will compete together Wednesday in the Mixed Team Event, unique to the Youth Games.

“I think it’s going to be fun,” Massialas said. “Not everyone from the US team is going to be together, but it’s going to be a good experience to fence with other fencers.”

Silver medalist Celina Merza (Wayne, N.J.), quarterfinalist Will Spear (Wyantskill, N.Y.) and semifinalist Holmes will join Massialas on the Americas team.

“It should be exciting, none of us have ever done a team event like this one,” Merza said. “I think the U.S., we’re a pretty strong team right now, so it’s exciting to go against other people, the other teams, the Europeans.”

About U.S. Fencing Association: The United States Fencing Association (USFA) is the recognized NGB for the sport of fencing in the United States. The USFA was founded in 1891 as the Amateur Fencers League of America (AFLA) by a group of New York fencers seeking independence from the Amateur Athletic Union. The AFLA changed its name to the United States Fencing Association in 1981. The USFA is affiliated with the Féderation Internationale d'Escrime (FIE), the international federation for fencing founded in Paris in 1913. The USFA was incorporated as a non-profit corporation in Pennsylvania in 1964 and in Colorado in 1993 in compliance with the Amateur Sports Act and opened its national office at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. in August of 1982. For more visit, or

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