RIO DE JANIERO – Alexander Massialas of Stanford captured a silver medal in men's foil on Sunday, the first medal by an American fencer in 32 years.
Competing in his second Olympics, the top-ranked senior from San Francisco won four matches to reach the gold medal bout against Daniele Garozzo of Italy, but succumbed 15-11. The match was tied 7-7, before Garozzo reeled off seven consecutive points to take control.
"I wish I could have won gold," said Massialas, a two-time NCAA foil champion. "But I couldn't be prouder to bring back a medal for the United States."
Massialas, coached by his father, Greg, a three-time Olympian who competed in 1984 and 1988, and cheered on by his mother Chwan-Hui Chen and sister Sabrina, the latter a standout fencer at Notre Dame and member of the American national team, staged a dramatic rally in the quarters to extend his medal hopes. He trailed 14-8 against Giorgio Avola of Italy, but battled back for a heart-stopping 15-14 victory.
"I might have used up my luck for the day," Massialas said.
The last U.S. fencer to win a medal was Peter Westbrook, who claimed the bronze in 1984. The last time an American garnered a medal in foil was in 1960.
"It was overwhelming," said Massialas. "Hopefully I gave a lot of people inspiration."
In the semifinals, he defeated Richard Kruse of Great Britain, 15-9.
Massialas previously competed for the 2012 U.S. men's Olympic team. At 18, he was the youngest member of the American Olympic squad and finished fourth in team foil and 13thindividually.
A mechanical engineering major with one year of eligibility, Massialas has another opportunity to win gold on Friday in the team foil competition. He is expected to be joined by Gerek Meinhardt and Miles Chamlen-Watson.