Prior to Friday the last time the United States won a medal in the men’s team foil competition was 1932. Thanks to Gerek Meinhardt, Alexander Massialas, Miles Chamley-Watson and Race Imboden, that dry spell came to an end in Rio.
After falling to Russia in the semifinal round the Americans rebounded in the bronze medal match, beating Italy 45-31 to earn the nation’s first medal in that event in 84 years. After victories by Daniele Garozzo and Giorgia Avola gave Italy a 20-17 lead through four bouts, Meinhardt shifted the momentum of the bronze medal match by posting a dominant 8-0 win over Andrea Baldina. Massialas would follow with a 5-1 win over Garozzo, and Meinahrdt’s 5-1 win over Avola gave the Americans a 35-22 lead through seven bouts.
Imboden and Massialas’ bouts would close out the match for the U.S., which defeated the reigning World and Olympic champions in taking bronze. The U.S. has now won three Olympic medals in fencing in Rio, with Massialas being responsible for two of them. Massialas took silver in the individual foil, losing to Garozzo in the gold medal match, and Daryl Homer took silver in the individual sabre.
Massialas became the first American fencer to win two medals in the same Olympics since 1932, when Joseph Levis accomplished that feat.
France and Russia advanced to the gold medal match, with Russia coming back to win 45-41. The Russians trailed after each of the first seven bouts, but an emphatic 10-3 win by Artur Akhmatkhuzin in the eighth bout sparked the turnaround that earned Russia the gold medal.