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USA Fencing Finishes Fifth Among U.S. Sports in Rio Medal Count

08/23/2016, 3:15am CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Men's team foil bronze medalists Miles Chamley-Watson, Gerek Meinhardt, Alex Massialas and Race Imboden. Photo Credit: Serge Timacheff / FIE /

Alexander Massialas became the first U.S. man to win two individual fencing medals at the Olympic Games since 1932. Photo Credit: Serge Timacheff / FIE /

(Rio de Janeiro) – The U.S. Olympic Fencing Team ended the Rio Olympic Games with one of its most successful results in history, bringing home four medals as nine of its 17 athletes stood on the podium over the course of the Games.

Not only was this the third best result for USA Fencing in the history of the Games, but Team USA ended the Games tied for second in the fencing medal count with Hungary and Italy.

The U.S. Olympic Fencing Team also concluded the Games as the fifth highest sport in the U.S. medal count out of all 30 NGBs that competed at the Summer Games, trailing only track and field, swimming, gymnastics and cycling.

“USA Fencing is extremely proud of all of our Olympians who not only achieved historic results, but also represented the USA with great sportsmanship and respect for the Games,” said USA Fencing Director of Sports Performance Kate Reisinger (Colorado Springs, Colo.) “The success of the 2016 Olympic Team would not have been possible without the contributions of all USA fencers who came before them, each deserving recognition and congratulations for our current results.”

In addition to four overall medal wins, Team USA achieved several historic landmarks, including:

  • The U.S. Men’s Foil Team won its first medal since the 1932 Olympic Games with a bronze in Rio.
  • Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) and Daryl Homer (Bronx, N.Y.) won the first individual fencing medals at the Games for U.S. men since 1984 with silvers in men’s foil and men’s saber, respectively.
  • Massialas’s silver medal was the first for a U.S. men’s foil fencer since 1932.
  • Homer’s silver medal result was the best finish for a U.S. individual men’s saber fencer in 112 years.
  • Massialas became the first U.S. man to win two medals at the same Olympic Games since 1932. 
  • The Rio Olympic Games marked the first time since 1904 that the U.S. Olympic Fencing Team has had more than one male athlete win an individual medal at the Games.
  • The U.S. Women’s Saber Team won its second Olympic bronze medal in the event’s second appearance at the Olympic Games. Only the United States and Ukraine have won medals at both Games.  
  • Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.) earned her fourth Olympic medal in Rio with the U.S. Women’s Saber Team’s bronze medal finish, becoming the first U.S. fencer to stand on the podium at three Olympic Games and the only woman in USA Fencing to hold four Olympic medals. 
  • Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.) became the first U.S. woman to compete at the Olympic Games in a hijab and the first to win a medal at the Games when she helped the U.S. Women’s Saber Team win bronze.

“This was a fantastic showing for our team. I am especially happy with how our teams fared. We won medals in two of the three team events in which we competed. I feel that we could have done even better as most matches that we lost were by very small margins, and quite a few of our medalists are expected to continue fencing which makes me particularly excited as we look towards Tokyo,” said Ann Marsh (Royal Oak, Mich.), the U.S. Olympic Fencing Team Captain in Rio and a three-time Olympian. “My goal is for us to have the strongest fencing team in the world and I feel that is a strong possibility in the next two quadrenniums.”

While Massialas and Homer brought home individual medals for Team USA, a total of 10 U.S. fencers will end the season with top-16 world rankings, including six in the top eight:

Men’s Foil
1. Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)
8. Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.)
12. Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
15. Miles Chamley-Watson (New York City N.Y.)

Women’s Saber
4. Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.)
7. Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.)

Women’s Foil
4. Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.)
12. Nicole Ross (New York City, N.Y.)

Men’s Saber
8. Daryl Homer (Bronx, N.Y.)
10. Eli Dershwitz (Sherborn, Mass.)

In the team world rankings, the U.S. Men’s Foil Team’s bronze medal finish at the Olympic Games propelled Team USA into the No. 1 position at the end of the season for the second time in history, following an Overall World Cup win at the conclusion of the 2012-13 season.

When the U.S. Women’s Saber Team matched its 2015 Senior World Championships bronze with another at the Olympic Games, Team USA ended its season ranked fourth in the world.

While neither men’s saber nor women’s foil team events were contested in Rio, both are expected to return in Tokyo and the U.S. Men’s Saber and Women’s Foil Teams are in great positions for the start of the new season in October with men’s saber ranked second and women’s foil sitting at third in the world. 

The U.S Women’s Epee Team finished fifth in Rio after coming one touch short of the medal rounds. The result allowed Team USA to move up from No. 7 to No. 6 in the world rankings.

The world’s fencing teams will be back in action again for the start of the new World Cup season in October when hopefuls for the 2020 Olympic Games begin their journey on the Road to Tokyo. The season will open with the Cancun Women’s Foil World Cup in Mexico, Oct. 14-16.

Tag(s): News  Alexander Massialas