Foil Fencer Nick Itkin Wins First World Championships Medal In Cairo
by Ethan Olson
Nick Itkin after his second-round bout in the men's foil individual at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on July 26, 2021 in Chiba, Japan.
Coming off an Olympic team bronze medal last summer in Tokyo, fencer Nick Itkin earned his first world championships podium on Wednesday when he finished third in individual men’s foil in Cairo.
Still just 22 years old, Itkin has already established himself as one of the country’s next great foil fencers.
In 2018, he became the first U.S. fencer to win individual titles as the U.S. championships, junior world championships and NCAA championships in the same season, which he did while he was a freshman at Notre Dame.
In his young professional career Itkin has also had success in team foil events, winning bronze in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and most recently winning gold in the Cairo World Cup in February.
This week Itkin, who is currently ranked 11th in the world, had the chance to showcase himself on the individual stage once again — and he did just that.
The Los Angeles native had a solid opening to the individual men’s foil bracket, winning 15-6 against No. 54 James-Andrew Davis of the Great Britain and 15-11 against No. 22 Xu Jie of China.
After a close third-round duel against No. 6 Shikine Takahiro of Japan that saw Itkin win 15-13, he went back to his dominant habits in the quarterfinals against No. 3 Alessio Foconi of Italy, defeating the former world champion, 15-5.
In the semifinal Itkin gave the defending champion, No. 2 Enzo Lefort of France, a difficult bout that went all the way to a tense 14-14 stalemate, but in the end Lefort beat out Itkin, 15-14. Lefort went on to defend his world title. With no third-place match, Itkin and Hong Kong’s Cheung Ka Long, the reigning Olympic champ, ended with bronze medals.
Itkin was one of two men’s foil fencers to get as far as the round of 16, joining Alexander Massialas, who was also part of the bronze-medal U.S. team in Tokyo.
Also on Wednesday, Olympian Eliza Stone was the top American in the individual women’s saber bracket, reaching the final 16.
Itkin’s bronze medal followed a bronze by Team USA’s Lee Kiefer in women’s foil on Tuesday. The team portion of the world championships begins Thursday with the women’s epee and men’s saber competitions. The six team events will continue through Saturday.