Nick Itkin joins U.S. foil fencing greats to win world championships medal

Nick Itkin
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Last year, Nick Itkin broke through in the U.S.’ deepest fencing discipline to make his first Olympic team at age 21. At the world championships in Cairo on Wednesday, he joined the list of recent American foil greats to win an individual world championships medal.

Itkin took bronze, becoming the first U.S. man to win an individual Olympic or world championships fencing medal since 2018.

He routed 2018 World champion Alessio Foconi of Italy 15-5 in the quarterfinals before falling to defending world champion Enzo Lefort of France 15-14 in the semis. Lefort repeated as gold medalist. There are no bronze-medal bouts at world championships, so all semifinalists are guaranteed a medal.

For the 2010s, a quartet defined U.S. men’s foil. Miles Chamley-WatsonRace Imboden, Alexander Massialas and Gerek Meinhardt made up the Olympic team in 2012 and 2016 and made up world championships medal-winning teams in 2013, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Imboden, Massialas and Meinhardt were each ranked No. 1 in the world at different points. Chamley-Watson, Massialas and Meinhardt all won individual world championships medals.

In 2013, Chamley-Watson became the first U.S. male fencer to win a world title. In 2016, Massialas, then ranked No. 1 in the world, lost in the Olympic final trying to become the first U.S. man to win an Olympic fencing title in the modern era of weapons.

Itkin, the first U.S. citizen from a family that came to the U.S. from Ukraine, shook things up last year by making the Olympic team over Chamley-Watson and making the roster of three for the individual event over Imboden. He was the only American man to win a foil bout in Tokyo but then lost in his second round. Later, the team took bronze.

Itkin, a two-time NCAA individual foil champion at Notre Dame, entered worlds as the highest-ranked U.S. man in foil at No. 11 in the world.

“We’ve won a lot of stuff together, and he’s proven that that system is going to be passed on and he’ll pass it on as well,” Imboden said after the Tokyo Olympic team medal, according to USA Fencing.

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Paris 2024 Olympic marathon route unveiled

Paris 2024 Olympic Marathon
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The 2024 Olympic marathon route will take runners from Paris to Versailles and back.

The route announcement was made on the 233rd anniversary of one of the early, significant events of the French Revolution: the Women’s March on Versailles — “to pay tribute to the thousands of women who started their march at city hall to Versailles to take up their grievances to the king and ask for bread,” Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet said.

Last December, organizers announced the marathons will start at Hôtel de Ville (city hall, opposite Notre-Dame off the Seine River) and end at Les Invalides, a complex of museums and monuments one mile southeast of the Eiffel Tower.

On Wednesday, the rest of the route was unveiled — traversing the banks of the Seine west to the Palace of Versailles and then back east, passing the Eiffel Tower before the finish.

The men’s and women’s marathons will be on the last two days of the Games at 8 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET). It will be the first time that the women’s marathon is held on the last day of the Games after the men’s marathon traditionally occupied that slot.

A mass public marathon will also be held on the Olympic marathon route. The date has not been announced.

The full list of highlights among the marathon course:

• Hôtel de ville de Paris (start)
• Bourse de commerce
• Palais Brongniart
• Opéra Garnier
• Place Vendôme
• Jardin des Tuileries
• The Louvre
• Place de la Concorde
• The bridges of Paris
(Pont de l’Alma; Alexandre III;
Iéna; and more)
• Grand Palais
• Palais de Tokyo
• Jardins du Trocadéro
• Maison de la Radio
• Manufacture et Musées
nationaux de Sèvres
• Forêt domaniale
des Fausses-Reposes
• Monuments Pershing –
Lafayette
• Château de Versailles
• Forêt domaniale de Meudon
• Parc André Citroën
• Eiffel Tower
• Musée Rodin
• Esplanade des Invalides (finish)

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International Boxing Association lifts ban on Russia, Belarus

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The International Boxing Association (IBA) lifted its ban on amateur boxers from Russia and Belarus over the war in Ukraine that had been in place since early March.

“The IBA strongly believes that politics shouldn’t have any influence on sports,” the federation said in a press release. “Hence, all athletes should be given equal conditions.”

Most international sports federations banned athletes from Russia and Belarus indefinitely seven months ago, acting after an IOC recommendation. It is believed that the IBA is the first international federation in an Olympic sport to lift its ban.

The IOC has not officially changed its recommendation from last winter to exclude Russia and Belarus athletes “to protect the integrity of the events and the safety of the other participants.”

Last week, IOC President Thomas Bach said in an interview with an Italian newspaper that Russian athletes who do not endorse their country’s war in Ukraine could at some point be accepted back into international sports, competing under a neutral flag.

IBA, in lifting its ban, will also allow Russia and Belarus flags and national anthems.

“The time has now come to allow all the rest of the athletes of Russia and Belarus to participate in all the official competitions of their sports representing their countries,” IBA President Umar Kremlev, a Russian, said in a press release last week. “Both the IOC and the International Federations must protect all athletes, and there should be no discrimination based on nationality. It is the duty of all of us to keep sports and athletes away from politics.”

In 2019, the IOC stripped the IBA — then known as AIBA — of its Olympic recognition following an inquiry committee report into finance, governance, refereeing and judging. The IOC ran the Tokyo Olympic boxing competition.

The IBA will not run qualifying events for the 2024 Paris Games, but it does still hold world championships, the next being a men’s event in Uzbekistan next year.

Boxing, introduced on the Olympic program in 1904, was not included on the initial program for the 2028 Los Angeles Games but can still be added. The IBA must address concerns “around its governance, its financial transparency and sustainability and the integrity of its refereeing and judging processes,” Bach said last December.

On Sept. 23, the IBA suspended Ukraine’s boxing federation, citing “government interference.” Ukraine boxers are still allowed to compete with their flag and anthem.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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