Top fencers to watch in Rio
Sabre fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad is set to make history in Rio as the first U.S. Olympian to compete in a hijab. Muhammad was active in sports as a child but was always looking for ways to modify her uniform to adhere to Muslim customs. Her mother suggested she try fencing after seeing a group of high school students competing in the sport while completely covered. She will compete in the women’s individual and team sabre events.
Lee Kiefer will make her second Olympic appearance at the Rio Games. Kieffer made her debut in London just before starting her freshman year at Notre Dame. She hails from a family of fencers -- her father was a fencing captain at Duke, her sister was a NCAA champion at Harvard and her younger brother followed in her footsteps to fence at Notre Dame. Kiefer is currently ranked third in the world. She will compete in the women’s individual foil event.
Alexander Massialas is making his second Olympic appearance in Rio. The youngest member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team, Massialas was born with fencing his blood. His father and coach, Greg Massialas, competed at the 1984 and 1988 Games in men’s foil fencing. Alexander Massialas is currently the top-ranked men’s foil fencer in the world. He will compete in the men’s individual and team foil events.
Italy’s Rossella Fiamingo is an early favorite to take women’s individual epee gold. Fiamingo holds two world championship titles and has consistently remained in the world’s top-five for the last three seasons. At the London Games, Fiamingo fell to China’s Sun Yujie in the quarterfinals, and finished seventh overall. She returns to the Games as the world’s top-ranked epee fencer and will compete in the individual event.
Hungarian sabre fencer Aron Szilagyi will look to defend his Olympic gold medal at the Rio Games. Szilagyi won individual gold in London, Hungary’s first gold medal in men’s individual sabre since the 1992 Barcelona Games. Szilagyi is set to carry the Hungarian flag in the Rio Opening Ceremony.