Over the weekend, instead of competing with their team at the St. John’s Invitational, Penn State fencers Miles Chamley-Watson and David Willette jetted away to France where they competed in the Paris Foil World Cup as part of the United States Men’s Foil Team alongside Chamley-Watson’s Olympian teammates Race Imboden and Alexander Massialas.
Willette was an alternate, so he did not fence in any matches except for the first bout. Technically, he isn’t on the national team, but was filling in for Gerek Meinhardt.
Together, the four men did incredibly well making Team USA history by earning the Men’s Foil team its first-ever gold medal and getting them off to a great start on their journey to the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro.
The men’s team was up against strong teams from Italy, Russia, Germany, France, Great Britain, among others, which feature some of the best fencers in the world.
During the tournament, the team had a rematch against France, who they competed against in the semifinals during the Olympics. They went on to win 45-15 against a team that also included Olympians from the 2012 games. After that matchup, they were set to go up against Russia. In the matchup against Russia, the team was initially down by three points, until Miles hurt his ankle, and had to get it taped up. When he came back on the strip, he won his bout 8-4, pushing the United States into the lead, 35-34. Ultimately, the team won against Russia 45-37.
In the final bout, a fight for the gold medal, Team USA faced Germany, who were their opponents in the bronze medal final during the Olympics. This time, Team USA came out on top to win gold.
“We knew that going into the match we had a burden on our shoulders and wanted to get some revenge, so we came into that match extremely excited and ready,” Chamley-Watson said, adding that he was energized and pumped up during his bouts. He also enjoyed having a large crowd there to watch them.
His teammate, David Willette, also fond of the large crowd watching, said, “It felt really good winning gold, especially since we set it as our goal the day before.”
“To be a gold medalist is great. You work so hard for it, so when you are able to show it on your neck, it feels awesome. Gold for me is the only option, never silver,” Chamley-Watson said.
In the future, Miles has his eye on becoming the No. 1 men’s foil fencer in the world again, but for him, training is tough because of NCAA events, NACs (North American Cups), and World Cups that he competes in. David isn’t sure where his life will be for the next Olympics, but hopes to make the team.
They want to continue traveling to the different World Cups, and to compete in both the individual and team events.