SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Like his fellow Summer Olympians, fencing star Alexander Massialas had his gold medal dreams put on hold when the 2020 Tokyo Games were postponed and rescheduled for 2021 because of the coronavirus outbreak.
And like all San Franciscans, Massialas has learned to adapt to life under the city’s strict shelter-in-place policies. So instead of training in a local gym, Massialas has been entertaining his neighbors with intense training sessions on his back porch along with his father and coach, Greg Massialas.READ MORE: Former California Senator Barbara Boxer Assaulted, Robbed In Oakland's Jack London District
“For most Olympic athletes, they’ve been working towards this for a lifetime,” Greg Massialas told the San Francisco Chronicle when the Games were postponed. “The mind-set has to be to you can only control the things you can control.”
Alexander Massialas was on the 2012 and 2016 US Olympic Fencing Team and was hoping to add gold to his silver medal in individual foil and a bronze medal in the team event from the 2016 Olympics.
His father also has a rich Olympic background. He was a member of the 1980, 1984, and 1988 US Olympic Team and is now the national coach for the United States foil team.READ MORE: KPIX 5 Exclusive: Older Concrete Buildings in San Francisco Raise Earthquake Concerns
While disappointed, Alexander Massialas said in this time of COVID-19 uncertainty, he understands the International Olympic Committee’s decision.
“Disappointed that I won’t be able to go out and fence in the Olympics in 2020, but I’m relieved that the IOC is putting global health first,” he said.
Alexander Massialas was the heavy favorite to win a historic gold in Rio when he was upset, 15-11, by the Italian fencer Daniele Garozzo in the Foil event. Still, he did become the first American man to medal individually since Peter Westbrook in 1984, and the last time an American man won individual silver was even longer ago in the 1932 Games.
He has long carried American gold medal hopes on his shoulders. With his father by his side and training him, by high school he was fencing on the senior national team at the world class level events. By college, Alexander was the youngest member of the U.S Olympic Team’s London delegation.MORE NEWS: CA Supreme Court Ruling Gives Prisoners Right To A Lawyer In Some Murder Conviction Challenges
And now he has his sights set on historic Olympic gold, but for now those dreams are confined to a small San Francisco back poach.