Stanford senior fencer Alexander Massialas ended the 2016-17 season as the Overall Men’s Foil World Cup Champion, becoming the first American male in history to earn the honor twice.
Following his fifth place finish in the individual event at the Senior World Championships on Sunday, Massialas returned to the No. 1 world ranking he held for most of the season, passing Italy's Daniele Garozzo by one point after the Italian’s bronze medal finish in Leipzig.
Despite focusing on his academics and competing in just five of the nine events on the World Cup circuit, Massialas still earned podium finishes at three events with a gold at the Paris World Cup and silvers at the Torino and Absolute Fencing Gear Long Beach Grand Prix tournaments. Last month, Massialas also placed second at the Pan American Championships; his seventh career medal at the event.
Massialas is one of just two U.S. men to earn the Overall World Cup title. His teammate Race Imboden earning the honor in 2014-15 as the first U.S. man in history to do so with Massialas following in 2016-17.
“Being No. 1 after last year having the year I did and then to come back this year shows that the hard work has all paid off,” Massialas said. “Trying to pave the way for men’s American fencing is pretty amazing. If you asked me when I was younger if I’d be the Overall World Cup winner at one point and then not just once but even twice, I think I might’ve laughed at you. It just goes to show how amazing American fencing has come that we’ve won the Overall World Cup title the last three years, first with Race and then me. It just goes to show how dominant we’ve become in men’s foil.”
On the women’s side, Olympic saber medalists Mariel Zagunis, Sada Jacobson and Becca Ward hold eight Overall World Cup titles among them with Zagunis winning five (2005-06, 2009-09, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12), Jacobson earning two (2002-03, 2003-04) and Ward taking the 2007-08 honors.
“A lot of thanks given to the people that came before us,” Massialas said of the elite group of history makers whose company he joins. “Mariel has won the Overall World Cup many times and I’ll be chasing her to keep following in those footsteps.”
Massialas will compete again at the Senior Worlds on Wednesday where the U.S. men’s Foil Team aims to win its first Senior World title.
“I’m definitely upset about the way things went in individual. I wish I could’ve done a little bit better, but it just makes I think all of us even more hungry for team,” Massialas said. “We’re all ready to go out there and perform the best that we can. I think we’re all hungry, we’re all angry and we’re all ready to go out there and show them what we’ve got.”
Note: This story first appeared on the USA fencing website.