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  1. #211
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    Alexander Massialas

    Sad to hear this. Greg was on the SJSU team one generation before me.

    Olympic dream derailed: Stanford fencer Massialas spends days in COVID isolation, loses 1st match
    Ann Killion
    Updated: July 25, 2021 11:03 p.m.

    San Francisco fencer Alexander Massialas lost his first Olympic match Monday, ending his dreams of adding another Olympic medal to his collection and continuing a nightmarish week due to COVID-19 protocols.
    Massialas spent the past eight days quarantined in a hotel, apart from his teammates in the Olympic village. He was placed into contact tracing due to being seated on his flight to Japan near beach volleyball player Taylor Crabb, who tested positive for COVID-19 and had to withdraw from the Games last week.
    Crabb, who said he is vaccinated, has remained in quarantine at his hotel.
    Massialas, who is vaccinated and continues to test negative, was quarantined completely for three days and then allowed to only do certain kinds of limited training, but not be near any of his teammates.
    “I’m obviously really disappointed,” said Massialas by Facetime after his loss to Germany’s Peter Joppich. “I’ve been trying to stay positive and make the best of a bad situation.”
    But his father Greg, a former Olympic fencer, and a coach for the fencing team, thinks the week took its toll on his son.
    “He’s been locked up in isolation and I think it got to him,” Greg said.
    The ordeal started after Massialas landed in Tokyo and was held for 12 hours at the airport. He was taken to a quarantine hotel and stayed there for three days. Then he was transferred to another hotel, where more of Team USA is staying, but remained under strict protocols.
    The three-time Olympian, who won a silver individual medal and a bronze team medal in Rio, spent much of the week wondering if he would be able to compete at all. He finally received clearance to compete in his foil match on Monday a few days ago. But he was unable to train with his teammates.
    After the disappointment, he is looking toward Sunday’s team competition. He hopes by then, he will have been cleared to move into the village.
    “Everyone’s flying blind - there’s not a lot of clarity,” Massialas said. “But the best athletes have the shortest memories. I’ll take some time to be upset and sad but then I’ll look forward to winning gold with my teammates.”
    Massialas qualified for Tokyo several weeks before the Games were postponed. He spent 2020 training in his parents’ San Francisco home and working to save Stanford sports, including fencing. He was a key member of “36 Sports Strong” the Stanford alumni group that successfully fought to overturn the university’s decision to drop 11 sports.
    Ranked fifth in the world, Massialas had hopes for gold at his third Olympics. He also looked forward to sharing the experience with his younger sister Sabrina, who is on her first Olympic team. He had hoped to walk in opening ceremonies with her and hang out in the village. Instead, Monday was the first time he saw her.
    “I’m trying to get her to enjoy the moment, because this is something she’s dreamed of for a long time,” Massialas said. “Sometimes life throws something at you that you didn’t expect.”
    Though Crabb was vaccinated and is apparently a breakthrough case, Massialas wishes that all his teammates were vaccinated because he’s an example of exactly what’s at risk. Close to 100 U.S. Olympians are unvaccinated, according to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee. All are rolling the dice with not only their own Olympic dreams but those of their teammates.
    “It’s definitely perplexing,” said Massialas, who added that the entire fencing team is vaccinated. “I like to think about my teammates and whether or not I’m putting them in a dangerous situation. I don’t want to hurt them in any way.”
    Massialas’ five-year dream was derailed by the seat he was assigned on an airplane.
    “Sometimes you get unlucky in life,” he said. “But at least I got to compete. And I will try to help my team win.”
    Massialas’ teammate Gerek Meinhardt, another San Francisco native, also lost his first match on Monday. His potential pre-match distraction was for a far happier reason than Massialas. His wife Lee Kiefer won gold in individual foil on Sunday. The married fencers are both in medical school at the University of Kentucky.
    “I think he had a really emotional, wonderful day and was a little bit drained,” said Greg Massialas.
    The men’s team event will take place on August 1.

    Ann Killion is a San Francisco Chronicle columnist. Email: akillion@sfchronicle.comTwitter: @annkillion
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    Quote Originally Posted by YinOrYan View Post
    Uh, can you point me some good examples??? If so, beach volleyball dresscode is the next level, then the Americans may score better with all the young judges, since older experienced judges are not allowed for wushu, ha ha
    srsly? Have you watched any world competition Wushu in the last half decade? It's not quite as sequined and embroidered as ice skaters yet, but it's aspiring to be so. It's definitely moving that direction.
    Gene Ching
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  2. #212
    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    srsly? Have you watched any world competition Wushu in the last half decade? It's not quite as sequined and embroidered as ice skaters yet, but it's aspiring to be so. It's definitely moving that direction.
    No I have not seen any Wushu in mini-skirts and bare midriffs. Like that girl-group out of Vegas that would do kung fu demos to the latest dance tunes. Do you remember the Violent Femmes?

  3. #213
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    Alex Hadzic

    US fencers wear pink masks after teammate accused of sexual misconduct
    Fencing team reportedly object to teammate’s place on team
    Alen Hadzic denies allegations against him

    The US men’s épée team lost to Japan on Friday. Photograph: Hassan Ammar/AP
    Guardian sport
    Fri 30 Jul 2021 10.41 EDT

    Three members of the United States Olympic men’s épée team wore pink masks on Friday amid allegations their teammate is guilty of sexual misconduct.

    Jake Hoyle, Curtis McDowald and Yeisser Ramirez all wore pink facemasks before the start of the competition. Alex Hadzic, who has been accused of sexual assault, was the only member of the team who did not.

    Hadzic qualified for the Tokyo Games in May. Shortly afterwards, three women accused him of sexual impropriety in incidents that occurred from 2013 to 2015. Hadzic’s attorney, Michael Palma, told the New York Times the fencer was innocent of all allegations. He did confirm that Hadzic was suspended from Columbia University for the 2013-14 school year after an investigation involving sexual consent.

    In the wake of the allegations, the US Center for SafeSport suspended the 29-year-old from all fencing activities on 2 June. Hadzic appealed that suspension and won. The arbitrator ruled Hadzic should not contact his accusers while saying his suspension had been “inappropriate to the allegations”. However, he travelled to Tokyo separately from his teammates and had to stay in a hotel away from the athletes’ village.

    While Hoyle, McDowald and Ramirez’s facemasks were an apparent rebuke of Hadzic they did not comment verbally on the matter on Friday. One of Hadzic’s teammates, Katharine Holmes, says she collected electronic signatures from every member of the fencing team objecting to Hadzic’s inclusion at the Olympics. Palma has distributed a letter of objection from Holmes, which includes only her written signature.

    Hadzic was an alternate on the US team and did not compete. The US men’s épée team lost to Japan on Friday, ending their Olympic campaign.
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    metoo-(An-Open-Secret-Hollywood-Please-Watch)
    Gene Ching
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  4. #214
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    Bare midriffs & miniskirts would be cool...

    Quote Originally Posted by YinOrYan View Post
    No I have not seen any Wushu in mini-skirts and bare midriffs. Like that girl-group out of Vegas that would do kung fu demos to the latest dance tunes. Do you remember the Violent Femmes?
    Fair. I was referring to the sequins and embroidery. Sequins on Kung Fu uniforms? Srsly? It's not as bad as some of the outfits worn at Sport Karate tournaments...yet.
    Gene Ching
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  5. #215
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    RIP Coach Buckie Leach

    I didn't know Coach Leach but I knew of him. My friends in the fencing circles have been posting memorials - they're shocked and heartbroken.

    Olympic Team Coach Buckie Leach Passes Away
    08/15/2021, 6:15PM CDTBY NICOLE JOMANTAS


    Coach Buckie Leach at the 2019 Senior World Championships with Nzingha Prescod, Jackie Dubrovich, Nicole Prescod and Lee Kiefer after the team's bronze medal win.

    Five-time Olympic Coach Buckie Leach.
    (Colorado Springs, Colo.) – USA Fencing is heartbroken at the loss of Anthony “Buckie” Leach (Mt. Sinai, N.Y.) – one of the sport’s longtime Olympic coaches who led the U.S. Women’s Foil Team at the 1996, 2000, 2004, 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games.

    A 2013 inductee into the USA Fencing Hall of Fame, Leach passed away on Saturday night at the age of 62 following a motorcycle accident on a cross-country road trip after his return from the Tokyo Olympic Games.

    Leach is credited with building the U.S. Women’s Foil Team’s success over nearly 30 years, including four medals at the Senior World Team Championships, including the squad’s first Senior World title in 2018. He also coached more than a half dozen personal students to Olympic berths as well as foil fencers to Senior, Junior and Cadet World titles.

    Leach’s students reached new heights in any weapon for USA Fencing during the 1990s when Iris Zimmermann (Rochester, N.Y.) became the first U.S. fencer to win a Cadet World Championship in any weapon, taking gold at age 14 in 1995, followed by a Junior World title in 1999 and earning the first medal at the Senior World Championships for a U.S. fencer in any weapon with a bronze medal the same year. Zimmermann’s older sister, Felicia Zimmermann (Rochester, N.Y.), became the first U.S. woman to win the Overall Junior World Cup title and went on to compete in two Olympic Games, making her debut in 1996 and competing with Iris in 2000. Ann Marsh-Senic (Royal Oak, Mich.) earned a seventh-place finish at the 1996 Games with her Atlanta Games teammate, Suzie Paxton (Brooklyn, N.Y.), rising to a top-eight world ranking during her career.

    In 2000, Leach coached Team USA to a fourth-place finish at the Sydney Olympic Games, missing bronze by just two touches. The U.S. Women’s Foil Team avenged the loss in 2001, winning bronze with an all-star lineup that included the Zimmermanns as well as Marsh-Senic and Erinn Smart (Brooklyn, N.Y.) who would go on to win silver with Team USA at the 2008 Games.

    A coach at the Fencers Club from 2001-2016, Leach’s personal students also included two-time Olympian Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.) who won gold at the 2011 Junior World Championships and became the first Black woman to win an individual medal at the Senior World Championships with her bronze in 2015.

    The U.S. Women’s Foil Team had its most successful quadrennium in history from 2017-21, earning three straight medals at the Senior World Championships, including gold in 2018, silver in 2017 and bronze in 2018. Last month, the squad narrowly missed the podium with Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.), Sabrina Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.), Nicole Ross (New York City, N.Y.) and Jackie Dubrovich (Riverdale, N.J.) placing fourth at the Tokyo Games.

    After coaching his fourth Olympic Games in 2016, Leach joined the Notre Dame coaching staff beginning in the 2016-17 season. During his five seasons as an assistant coach at Notre Dame, Leach’s students won 12 individual medals at NCAAs, including five out of 10 possible gold medals in the individual foil events, with the Fighting Irish winning the team titles in 2017, 2018 and 2021. Among the athletes Leach coached in South Bend were U.S. Olympic Fencing Team members Kiefer, Massialas and Nick Itkin (Los Angeles, Calif.) Kiefer, who won Team USA’s first-ever Olympic title in women’s foil just three weeks ago, won four straight NCAA titles for Notre Dame with her final gold coming in 2017. Itkin claimed back-to-back titles in 2018 and 2019 and earned bronze in Tokyo with the men’s foil squad. Massialas won silver at the 2018 NCAAs and competed in the women’s foil team event in Tokyo. Two-time NCAA individual medalist Amita Berthier also made her Olympic debut in Tokyo, competing for Singapore.
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    Gene Ching
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  6. #216
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    The horse should get the medals

    Cruel and random modern pentathlon should replace horses with climbing
    The current format does not do athletes or animals justice. Replacing showjumping with climbing would be a solution


    Annika Schleu struggles to control Saint Boy during the showjumping event at the Tokyo 2020 modern pentathlon. Photograph: Iván Alvarado/Reuters
    Beau Dure
    Wed 18 Aug 2021 05.00 EDT

    Imagine training for countless hours for many years to reach the Olympics in rowing. You’re slotted into the pairs event. One hitch – your partner will be determined by random draw. You look over and see one of your rivals paired up with a world champion. Your partner, on the other hand, isn’t sure which end of the oar goes in the water.

    Perhaps the equestrian phase of the modern pentathlon, in which athletes are assigned mounts by draw from a pool of horses, isn’t quite so extreme. The horses should all be able to jump over things, at least, so organizers aren’t just borrowing animals from any family that likes to ride around a bit. They just haven’t had much time to bond with the athletes who are randomly assigned to them after they’ve finished fencing and swimming.

    But the disparity in allocated horses is vivid. In 2008, young American pentathlete Margaux Isaksen kissed her horse after a solid ride in Beijing. In Tokyo, coach Kim Raisner punched a horse that had brought German athlete Annika Schleu to tears as battled to control the animal, knowing she was about to fall from first to 31st.

    It wasn’t quite Mongo in Blazing Saddles, but the whipping and punching were certainly enough to make Peta call for modern pentathlon to leave things up to the humans rather than bringing in animals who never signed up for this.

    Even without the animal-rights aspects, show jumping is an odd fit for a multidisciplinary test of athletic prowess. Schleu is perfectly capable of riding other horses, as she has shown in a stellar international career. She had a nearly perfect ride when she took silver in the 2018 modern pentathlon world championships and again a few months ago when she finished fourth in this year’s worlds. But in the Olympics, she was stuck with a horse who was having none of it, and her medal hopes went down the drain.

    Fellow German Isabell Werth, a seven-time Olympic champion in the horse-specific event of dressage, has seen enough of the animals in modern pentathlon. “You could just as easily give them a bike or a scooter,” Werth told German news agency SID.

    Scooters in particular seem unlikely to be added, but modern pentathlon’s efforts to modernize are ongoing. As recently as 1992, the event took place over five days. In 2012, the sport combined the shooting and running, mimicking biathlon. This year, the bulk of the fencing was done separately, but the swimming, a fencing bonus round, the riding and the laser run were all conducted in Tokyo Stadium, which also hosted some soccer and rugby during the Games.

    It’s a pity fans weren’t allowed in to see a truly unique competition that included the construction of an outdoor short-course pool, but it was also a bit artificial. Fans who turned up to the stadium would not have seen the fencing “ranking round,” which in the women’s competition had already separated contenders from the field with a 150-point disparity between first and last. The swimming phase didn’t shake up the standings that much, and the fencing “bonus round” awarded no more than six points in a sport in which the winner wound up with 1,385.

    By 2024, they plan to go even further. The plan is to take a sport that once took five days and condense it to 90 minutes.

    A lot of the changes have indeed made things better. Decathlon and heptathlon should look into the laser run’s handicap start – the more points you have, the earlier you start the run – that means the first person across the finish line has won gold.

    But condensing the event to 90 minutes doesn’t solve the sport’s biggest problem, which reared its ugly head in Tokyo. It’s the horses. They might as well acknowledge that the horse draw is a lottery and replace it with a 21st-century corollary like scratch-off tickets.

    Rewind a bit. The genesis of the modern pentathlon is a scenario based around the attributes needed by a 19th-century cavalry officer. A soldier needs to escape the enemy by shooting and sword-fighting, then riding an unfamiliar horse, swimming across a river and running to safety. The scenario is certainly dated – a modern soldier probably isn’t carrying an epee – but organizers can try to keep up the narrative while replacing the horses.

    Given the popularity of esports and the importance of technology in the modern military, maybe a round of Call of Duty would work. But we have other choices that are already on the Olympic program.

    The bevy of combat sports – boxing, wrestling, taekwondo, etc – might be redundant and impractical. Karate’s Olympic tenure might be brief, anyway, as the “I can hit you softer” discipline of kumite doesn’t play well with a viewing audience accustomed to MMA.

    Instead, we could look at the “escape” aspect of the soldier’s saga. Escaping on a skateboard or surfboard seems unlikely, and surfing would ruin the sport’s aspirations of taking place in one venue, anyway. Canoe/kayak and rowing also would be difficult logistical fits. Cycling could be a viable option, maybe with a time trial around a miniature cross-country course.

    The best choice, though, is one of the newer, youth-oriented sports in the Olympics. No, not breakdancing.

    Sport climbing.

    It fits both the sport’s narrative (an escaping soldier could conceivably have to scale a cliff) and its overarching goal of testing overall athleticism. Then one option could be to commandeer a fitness center for the swimming, fencing and climbing, then move to a nearby park for the run and shoot.

    Even better: Add climbing walls to the run-and-shoot course.

    Even better: Have a triathlon-style transition from swimming to the running/shooting/climbing race.

    Of course, none of the top athletes at the moment are elite climbers and it would be unfair to expect them to master the sport before the next Olympic cycle, so the changes could be phased in slowly starting with junior events in the next few years, ready for a full introduction at the 2028 or 2032 Games. In a sport that is often decried as elitist it would also open doors for more participants. Sure, learning to climb isn’t cheap, but it’s a hell of a lot more accessible for the average kid than showjumping.

    Any of these options, though, are better than watching an interspecies conflict that’s uncomfortable to watch and places much of an athlete’s chance of winning on the luck of the draw.
    I heard Kaley Cuoco offered to buy that punched horse.

    threads
    Fencing because we don't have a pentathlon thread.
    Tokyo Olympics
    Gene Ching
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