When 19-year-old Race Imboden made the switch from BMX racing to fencing, he probably wasn’t thinking hwe would be representing the United States in the Olympics, but that’s how it worked out.
Imboden made it to the round of 16 in individual foil at the London 2012 Olympic Games where he was eliminated by 26-year-old Italian Andrea Baldini.Both were competing int heir first Olympics, though Baldini’s path took him through Beijing. The Italian fencer tested positive for a banned diuretic at Beijing and was kicked off the Italian Olympic squad in 2008. He worked his way back, eager to prove he had the talent to be there.
He had a bit more talent than Imboden. The young America, a lanky six foot, one inch left-hander, had a hard time fighting off the shorter Italian’s rushes. Baldini would charge to get inside Imboden’s foil and score from inside while Imboden struggled to find a target. Imboden lost 15–9.
18-year-old Alexander Massialas was also defeated in the round of 16. Massialis is the son of Greg Massialas, a multiple U.S. national champion, two-time Olympian and coach of the 2008 Beijing U.S. fencing team. Massialis lost 15–6 to 27-year-old Russian Alexey Cheremisinov.
America might not have made it to the medals in fencing at London, but in Imboden and Massialis it has a pair of hot prospects for the next Olympics.