For Immediate Release: Brooklyn-Trained Fencer Romain Cannone Wins Olympic Gold For France

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Contact: Misha Mokretsov, info.nyfa@gmail.com, (347) 741-1343


Brooklyn, NY (July 29, 2021) – On July 25th, first-time Olympian, Romain Cannone, won the men’s epee individual competition, earning the first gold medal for France in Tokyo, and becoming the first student from New York Fencing Academy (NYFA) to be crowned Olympic Champion. To the rest of the world, Cannone was relatively unknown, 47th world-ranked, a replacement and youngest member of the French team. To his first coach, Misha Mokretsov and his NYFA clubmates in Coney Island, Cannone was the star to watch, and as he promised to himself, he did not disappoint.

“I went into the competition telling myself, ‘don’t be disappointed in yourself, be yourself, do your game,” 24-year-old Cannone recalled. “I love to play and that’s what I did during the matches and I didn’t feel any stress because I expressed myself. I started fencing in the USA, and France has a long history of champions and a real know-how of fencing.”

Entering the Olympics with this healthy attitude, Cannone was ready to fence the 2012 Venezuelan Olympic champion, Ruben Limardo Gascon, and won the bout 15-12. Next, Cannone eliminated #7 world-ranked, Bas Verwijlen from the Netherlands with a score of 15-11. Cannone then took on the world’s #2 epee fencer, Sergey Bida from Russia, and defeated him 15-12. For the semi-final, Cannone faced Ukrainian, Igor Reizlin, to win 15-10. In the finals, Cannone challenged the #1 epeeist in the world, Gergely Siklós of Hungry, and secured the gold medal with a score of 15-10. Cannone’s incredibly confident debut performance earned France its first individual Olympic gold medal in men’s epee since 1992.

Born in France, but raised mostly in the US, Cannone picked up the epee for the first time in 2010 when he began training with coach Misha Mokretsov who had just opened his first club in Brooklyn. Eleven years later, Coach Mokretsov shared the news with pride in an online post. “One of my first students, Romain Cannone, became an Olympic Champion! Looking back at his path as an athlete starting from a small twelve year old skinny boy to this amazing fencer, I know that he deserved every little bit of this medal.” Mokretsov explained, “Romain started fencing relatively late, didn’t have his US citizenship, and couldn’t fence many events here, but what he had was a huge love and passion for the sport, a strong work ethic and sportsmanship. Everyone who knows Romain knows he is a great person besides being an amazing athlete.”

Mokretsov went on to say, “I want to congratulate Romain for the achievement that proves when you put your heart into the sport, when you make sacrifices to move to a new level, when you stay true to yourself, when you remember your roots and value people that impacted your life, you will inevitably succeed because you deserve and earn it! And no matter how many obstacles Romain had on his way he never gave up, always worked to the top of his abilities and stayed a kind, respectful and loving person.”

Mokretsov credits Cecile and Arnaud Cannone for raising their son to be “a true gentleman and the best role model there can be for any athlete.” He also thanked Coach Dima Chumak who helped train Cannone for a couple of years while in high school in Westchester and starting college in Connecticut. But when Cannone realized he had to take a big chance and move to France to try to qualify for their senior team to pursue his fencing dreams, his New York coach supported him. “It was a difficult decision for him,” Mokretsov said. “He could have stayed in the United States, given it all up, pursued his business studies and worked in New York. But no, he took the idea to the end. He was so passionate.”

Cannone was considered a promising contender for the 2024 Olympics, but no one could have predicted he would take home the gold this time around. Even Cannone seemed surprised. “I was shocked and truly happy, I didn’t know how to celebrate. I just felt this happiness and this energy. I was living the moment fully and completely and I also felt the good energy from my team.”

That energy he felt from his French team by his side in Tokyo on Sunday, was certainly multiplied on the other side of the world by his fencing family from day one, at New York Fencing Academy in Coney Island, Brooklyn, USA.

New York Fencing Academy (NYFA) was founded in 2010 in Brooklyn, NY by owner and head coach Misha Mokretsov. In 2018, NYFA opened their second location in Port Washington, Long Island, NY. NYFA is a center for excellence in epee, with one of the strongest competitive epee programs in the country. NYFA has produced National and World Champions, and has members on the USA and French national teams. NYFA provides private lessons, group classes, after school programs, and camps for students of all ages and all levels, beginners to advanced. Visit http://www.fencenyfa.com for more info.


Contact: Misha Mokretsov, , cell phone: (347) 741-1343
Company: New York Fencing Academy
Brooklyn: 2896 W 12th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11224, club phone: (718) 996-0426
Long Island: 8 Haven Avenue, Port Washington, NY 11050, club phone: (516) 472-7042