Massialas follows steps of father in Olympic pursuit 

If the 2012 U.S. Olympic men’s fencing team was selected today, a San Francisco high school student would be poised for one of the spots.

Alexander Massialas strengthened his Olympic prospects by defending his cadet division world championship while finishing second in junior competition earlier this spring in Amman, Jordan.

This summer, Massialas is competing in the senior division, traveling to such diverse locales as St. Petersburg, Russia, Havana, Cuba and Reno, Nev., before a well-deserved, three-week family vacation in Greece.

Alexander’s dad, Greg Massialas, was born in Greece and emigrated to the U.S., where he was a three-time Olympian and coach of the U.S. fencing team in Beijing in 2008.

Greg Massialas and Dean Hinton are the young fencer’s primary coaches at Team M, but the head coach is happy to also play the role of proud father.

“All of the elements are there for success,” Greg said of his talented 17-year-old son. “He’s devoted,
passionate, hard-working and very athletic.”

The 6-foot-2, 165-pound fencer trains by competing on various Drew School athletic squads. He played on the soccer team as a sophomore, the swimming team as a junior and the school’s basketball team all three years.

His 2011 hoops season was interrupted by fencing competitions in Hungary, France, Spain, Italy and Texas.

Alexander Massialas credits the Drew School for permitting his long absences from class and the basketball court in order to pursue the Olympic dream.

“It’s the only school that would let me do this,” Alexander Massialas said. “I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this without their support.”

Alexander Massialas is excited that his sister, Sabrina, a fencing champion in her own right, will be joining him at Drew this year, his last and her first.

College scholarships will beckon for the young man who has, despite the training and travel, maintained a 4.0 grade point average, including classes such as advanced placement chemistry.

Alexander Massialas’ senior year at Drew will include further international competition, including the senior championships in Italy in October. The outcome at this tournament will be one determining factor when the Olympic squad is selected in April.

Success on the international stage depends on concentration and focus.

“It’s impossible to explain how you focus, you just do; you just can’t freeze up in the moment,” Massialas said. “You train your whole life for those experiences.”

When at home at his family’s Lower Pacific Heights flat, Massialas attempts to live like a “normal teenager,” but there aren’t many teenagers ranked in the top 15 in the world in their sport.


The M Team

WHAT: Competitive youth fencing program from beginner to Olympian

CHAMPIONS: Alexander Massialas and teammate Gerek Meinhardt hold two of the top three current spots in U.S. foil fencing

TOP HONOR: Massialas was awarded Olympic Athlete of the Week honors by USA Today after his bronze medal win at the Seoul Foil World Cup in May


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David Liepman

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