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Sabrina Massialas Wins Team USA’s First Gold Medal at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing

08/17/2014, 4:15pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Youth Olympic Champion Sabrina Massialas celebrates with her father and coach, Greg Massialas. Photo Credit: Brandon Penny.

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Nine minutes of fencing and having it all come down to one touch is a position Youth Olympian Sabrina Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) knows well.

On the opening day of competition in Nanjing, Massialas found herself competing for the chance to win the first gold medal for Team USA in any of the delegation’s 20 sports at the Youth Olympic Games.

After three periods of the gold medal final, Massialas was tied with Karin Miyawaki (JPN) at 6-6. The bout was sent into overtime and Massialas scored first to take the win, 7-6, and become the first U.S. fencer ever to win a gold medal at the Youth Olympic Games.  

“When it was 6-6, I thought it’s best to wait it out right now and work really hard for one touch. I’ve been in many high-stress situations so I’m used to it, I’m prepared for it. I knew that if I worked for one touch that I could get it, so that’s what I did,” said Massialas who won three straight bouts by one-touch margins at the Cadet World Championships in April to qualify for her first Youth Olympic Team.

In is Sabrina’s first appearance at the Youth Olympic Games, she found herself following in the footsteps of her older brother, Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) who fenced at the first Youth Olympic Games in 2010 and went on to represent Team USA in London.

While Alexander brought home the silver from Singapore four years ago, Sabrina is looking forward to making room in the family trophy cabinet for her gold medal.

“I am so happy! I finally one-upped him. I am super competitive with him. I don’t think he’s competitive with me, he’s just like whatever, but I’m like I have to do better. So, ha! I beat you,” Sabrina laughed after her win. “It hasn’t even really hit me yet. My voice is shot from screaming so much. I’m just so excited and amazed and I don’t even know what to say.”

Sabrina began the day seeded second, but had a tough pool round where she finished with a 3-3 record.

“I started the day kind of slow. The Youth Olympic Games were getting to me. I had no fire in me, no fight in me,” she said. “Afterwards, my dad said: ‘You’ve got to fight, be aggressive, be mean.’ I got myself into the zone.”

Following her slow start, Massialas went on to win her first direct elimination bout of the day, 15-7, over Yara Elsharkawy (EGY) and defeated 2014 Cadet World medalist Flora Pasztor (HUN), 15-9, in the quarter-finals.

After a break while the men’s saber early rounds took place, Massialas dominated the first two periods of her semifinal against Ali Huang (CHN) and held an 8-1 lead at the start of the third. Massialas and Huang fenced an action-packed final period and Massialas guaranteed herself a medal with a 12-7 victory.  

In addition to winning gold, Massialas secured herself a position in the mixed team competition on Wednesday where she will have a second chance at reaching the podium.

In the men’s saber event, 2014 Cadet World bronze medalist Karol Metryka (Linden, N.J.) finished the pools, 2-4, and finished 10th overall after a 15-13 loss to Nika Shengelia (GEO).

Competition continues on Monday when Justin Yoo (La Verne, Calif.) and Kasia Nixon (Los Angeles, Calif.) fence in the men’s and women’s epee events.

For complete results, visit

Top eight and U.S. results are as follows:

Youth Olympic Games Women’s Foil
1. Sabrina Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)
2. Karin Miyawaki (JPN)
3. Ali Huang (CHN)
4. Marta Martyanova (RUS)
5. Anna Szymczak (POL)
6. Flora Pasztor (HUN)
7. Claudia Borella (ITA)
8. Gabriela Cecchini (BRA)

Youth Olympic Games Men’s Saber
1. Ivan Ilin (RUS)
2. Dongju Kim (KOR)
3. Yinghui Yan (CHN)
4. Fares Ferjani (TUN)
5. Marios Giakoumatos (GRE)
6. Nurlan Kassymov (KAZ)
7. Nika Shengelia (GEO)
8. Mostafa Ayman (EGY)

10. Karol Metryka (Linden, N.J.)

Tag(s): News  Alexander Massialas  Sabrina Massialas