Gold medal

fencing, IN THE NEWS

Long Island coach celebrates Romain Cannone’s Olympic gold

August 6, 2021
by News 12 Long Island

Michael Mokretsov, who owns the New York Fencing Academy in Port Washington, just got a little more popular now that he successfully coached Romain Cannone to win Olympic gold.

While Cannone isn’t a Long Islander, Mokretsov is. He lives in Woodmere and has worked with Cannone since he was 12 years old.

“When he started, he was a regular kid,” says Mokretesov. “He wasn’t super strong or super-fast. There was nothing specific to tell about him to say OK an Olympic champion walking in the gym.”

Alan Temiryaev was Cannone’s former training partner. Temiryaev says Romain worked hard. He also says don’t be surprised if another gold medalist comes out of the Port Washington club.

“Definitely sets the bar high and now it makes me feel like I have to do it so see you guys in 2028 LA,” says Temiryaev.

fencing, IN THE NEWS

Who is Romain Cannone, the Olympic champion that nobody expected at the Olympics?

July 25, 2021
by Ijaz Ibrahim

PORTRAIT – The French swordsman has not experienced a trajectory like the others to become Olympic champion at 24 years old. His first medal on the international scene in individual. The most beautiful.

Special envoy to Tokyo

He lived his childhood in Brazil, then in the United States

If Romain Cannone was indeed born in France on April 12, 1997, near Boulogne-Billancourt, he did not stay there very long, then following his parents to Brazil to live his first school years in kindergarten. Before another great upheaval and a departure for New York, where his parents decide to launch a macaroon shop. And it is in the Big Apple that he will discover fencing at the age of 9, under the leadership of his cousin Zoey who pushes him to try foil, before becoming a star of his school. of Coney Island, the New York Fencing Academy (NYFA).

He has a Ukrainian mentor

The one who shaped the not very academic but very spectacular fencing of Cannone is called Misha Mokretsov. The meeting between the two occurs in 2010, when the Frenchman is still only 13 years old. At the time, it was more intended for the practice of foil, before changing to épée, convinced by Mokretsov, a former silver medalist in his country, Ukraine. Together, they will continue their journey, which made Cécile Cannone, Romain’s mother, say on the NYFA website: “Mokretsov is a true fencing enthusiast and he knows how to pass this on to his students. But the two of them are actually much more than student teachers to each other. It’s a very deep friendship, and he gives Romain great advice in many areas of his life.“

He shouldn’t have played his games

An Olympic title sometimes comes down to little. Initially selected as a replacement for the team event, Cannone was not expected to compete in the individual competition in Tokyo. An honor that should have gone to Daniel Jerent (30), both reigning Olympic champion and world champion in 2019, both times in the team event. Except that the latter, targeted by an investigation by the French Agency for the Fight against Doping (AFLD) for a positive control for a diuretic, Dorzolamide, was finally ruled out by the French Fencing Federation. A decision taken according to an extremely simple precautionary principle: by keeping Jerent in the team, the Federation took the risk, one day, of losing their possible medal on the green carpet if the swordsman was found guilty (which is not the case. case for now). A principle which therefore made Cannone happy.

He has never been on an international individual podium before.

The resident of Insep, and member of the VGA Saint-Maur (Val-de-Marne) club, only points to 47e world rank. Far behind his two compatriots present in Tokyo, Yannick Borel (6e) and Alexandre Bardenet (11e). Suffice to say that imagining him going so far was a colossal surprise. Especially since he owed his selection to his team performances, and not to those in individual, to say the least since he had never climbed on an international podium without his little comrades by his side. His best result was a 7e place at a World Cup event in Vancouver on February 8, 2019. But with the health crisis, world fencing has gone almost a year and a half without competition, which has undoubtedly made it possible to reshuffle the cards and open up the field of possibilities. Cannone is the best example of this with his formidable feat.

He is studying in Master

Throughout his career, Cannone never stopped studying, especially in the United States where he was at university. Since his return to France from Insep, he has also joined a Parisian school, SKEMA, where he follows a “Master in Audit, Management Control and Information Systems“. “I very much appreciate the understanding and support of SKEMA on my double project: high level athlete and higher education», He explained on the school website. “I benefit from adjustments to my course, shifting periods of internship… This allows me to devote myself fully to the periods of preparation and competition. This flexibility and the support of my teachers are a real plus. I live and train at INSEP and I jump in the RER A as soon as possible to join my classes.“

fencing, IN THE NEWS

Tokyo Olympics: “He had trouble holding the sword at the start”, Ukrainian coach Romain Cannone tells of the youth of the Olympic champion

July 26, 2021
by archyde

Tokyo Olympics: “He had trouble holding the sword at the start”, Ukrainian coach Romain Cannone tells of the youth of the Olympic champion

That’s it, the apprentice fencers have gone to bed, Misha Mokretsov has a little time to give us. “I run a summer camp with kids in New York State, the days are busy. But we did not miss Romain’s victory. Posted in front of television, the current students of the Ukrainian technician were able to admire the coronation of one of his former proteges. Gold medalist and surprise of the day on Sunday in épée at the Tokyo Olympics, Romain Cannone was introduced to fencing with this trainer, whose influence he spoke of just after stepping off the podium. A slice of life together in Brooklyn that Misha Mokretsov agreed to tell us about.

When he enrolled in fencing at 12, what state of mind is Romain Cannone in?

MISHA MOKRETSOV. He came to see how it was going, what the lessons consisted of. He was a boy who was looking for a nice activity, in search of a passion. He quickly progressed, and managed to reach the 32nd finals of a national competition. It meant that he had something in him, it is not given to everyone. But he absolutely had to settle certain things.

Which ones?

He was a very small and thin child. He had trouble holding the sword at first. He faced tougher opponents who weren’t going to give him a chance to express himself. So, I undertook to make him work physically, to make him capable of holding a match. He was smaller than the others and therefore had less elongation. He had to compensate with his speed and flexibility, a bit like he did at the Olympics.

He explained that your methods were strict and that he had had a bit of trouble with you …

The Ukrainian school is a physical school (smile). I insisted a lot on the points he had to work on so that he could continue to progress.

Did he fear opponents taller than himself?

(He cuts). Not at all. He never walked away. Romain, he has a heart. He was a very hardworking child.

Does the fencer you saw win the Olympic title look a lot like the one you trained until he was 20?

There is more maturity, but I see a lot of commonalities. He is a player, but has gained experience which allows him to correct the mistakes he could make. When he left the United States, he was already a confirmed junior.

Did he tell you about his Olympic dream which drove him to leave the country for France five years ago?

Yes, and I want to say he was very brave. The last year here he went to college in Connecticut. And I could tell it was not right at all. He found the level of training he was doing next to his studies bad, he could see that it was getting him nowhere. So he decided to go and try his luck in France. It was a difficult decision to make. He could have stayed in the United States, given it all up, pursued his business studies, then his life here when he joined a company in New York. But no, he took the idea to the end. He was so passionate.

After his gold medal, he explained that he was angry with the United States for not granting him American citizenship to fight in the American jersey …

Here, the federation does not have the power to naturalize someone. So, they wrote to the immigration services, but they must have decided that it was not worth the trouble. Afterwards, I think he shouldn’t have any regrets. If he had stayed here, he probably wouldn’t be an Olympic champion today. The structures are not the same, it is complicated to have state support when you are an adult, and the level is not the same. At the time, he had managed to convince the French federation of his level by going to participate in a competition there. For them, it was an unusual profile, that of a kid who learned fencing in New York.

Have you had him on the phone since his Olympic title?

No. But when he learned that he was selected to compete in the Olympics, I was the one he called first to announce it. It lasted five minutes, he was in tears on the phone. I am very proud that he wanted to share this news with me first.

fencing, IN THE NEWS

Meet the Coney Island-Trained French Fencing Olympian Romain Cannone

By French Morning Staff
Thursday, July 29, 2021

Meet the Coney Island-Trained French Fencing Olympian Romain Cannone

The small group of young fencers can’t take it anymore. On July 25, in the early morning, on a bus somewhere near Storm King (NY), where they are at summer camp, they explode with joy when they see Romain Cannone become an Olympic gold medalist in Tokyo. “Since the night before, they were up until late to follow Romain. It didn’t matter if they had to get up early the next day! Romain, for us, is a legend,” smiles coach Misha Mokretsov, who runs the fencing club to which this happy contingent of 70 budding sportsmen belongs, and to which the champion belonged when he was a teenager.

This Ukrainian fencer is particularly proud of the improbable performance of the Frenchman, who went from the 47th place in the world to its top tier: it is he who gave Cannone the taste for fencing a little more than ten years ago. At the time, Canonne was only 12 years old and living in New York, where his parents had moved to open Macaron Café, a French macaron store. He then trained with Misha Mokretsov at the Brooklyn Fencing Center, where the master gives classes. He followed him in 2010 when he launched his own school, the New York Fencing Academy, near Coney Island, where most of his students live. “At first, Romain was just one of many students. He was pretty weak and skinny. He had trouble holding the blades over time and staying in guard position over the length, but he was very elastic and creative. He didn’t just do what he was told. He was able to make combinations himself based on the general direction I gave him.”

A friendship quickly developed between the coach and his young disciple, who was determined to improve. Their families became closer, and the wife of “Coach Misha” provided “moral support” to the perfectionistic and “sensitive” young man when he suffered a setback. “He wanted so much to do well and lived for fencing,” remembers the swordsman. “We did with Romain the work that any athlete must do to prepare: jogging on the Coney Island boardwalk, physical preparation through rafting, skiing. We also did some fishing. I was trying to show him respect and how to be a good person. Which he already was because, having had a French education, he was always very polite!”

It is also Misha Mokretsov who encouraged him to return to France when, at university in the United States, the future champion felt “miserable” not to be able to pursue fencing at a high level. “We came to the conclusion that he had to return to France to go all the way,” says the coach. “He could have stayed in the United States and found a job, but he would have been unhappy. He was passionate about fencing. France and its culture are better for him. In the U.S., we don’t have a very strong support system for adult fencers. Sure, he could have made the U.S. national team, but he would not have reached the level he has today. I am very proud of him. He has sacrificed so much. And besides being an outstanding fencer, he’s a great guy!”

The Frenchman’s consecration is also that of Misha Mokretsov, a former Ukrainian vice-champion and member of the junior national team. Inspired by a friend, he started fencing at age 12 and went to Saint John’s University (Queens) after winning a scholarship. In addition to making the varsity team, he began tutoring to fund his education. “I started getting results, even though I didn’t know how to coach. But because I was young, I was able to communicate my energy to my students, who saw me as a friend,” he says. “Also, I wasn’t super talented. Fencing for me is more of a science than an instinct. It allows me to dissect my movements and explain them easily to others.”

Today, Misha Mokretsov heads two schools, in Coney Island and Port Washington (Long Island), for 6-20 year olds and fencing veterans. He can boast of having trained many budding champions. But Romain Cannone’s Olympic medal is his greatest reward. He was able to speak briefly to the champion on Tuesday 27 July, interrupted constantly by the “congratulations” launched by his students in the background. Some of them have met the Frenchman, who liked to help his former club during competitions in Europe, but most have never seen him. “For us, the greatest reward is to show our cadets and juniors that they can dream even bigger. There is no American Olympic gold medalist in epee. That title is kind of held by Romain. Even though he competed under French colors, he is our fencer!”



Brooklyn, NY (March 12, 2015) – After earning an individual bronze medal at the Basel World Cup, Romain Cannone (New York, NY) was selected to compete for France at the European Fencing Championships in Maribor, Slovenia. As Cannone explained, “just being there was a dream come true because it is really the competition everyone wants to go to.” He and his teammates took this opportunity all the way to the top, winning the Junior Champion title in the men’s epee team event.

Romain Cannone (right) - Gold, European Junior Team Championships Maribor Slovenia
Romain Cannone (right) – European Junior Team Champion

Fourth seeded France got off to a rough start, barely beating 13th ranked Estonia by just one point. This close win put them in top 8, where they had to pull it together to face fifth ranked Switzerland. France was down by four, but Cannone scored eight points to help his team win 45-41. Next they had to defeat Israel which was ranked eighth but had just beaten Spain to take the first seed spot. Cannone was a little anxious since Israel’s Yuval Shalom Freilich, number one in the world, eliminated Cannone two days earlier, on his way to winning the individual championship. However, this time, Cannone and his teammates were unstoppable, soundly defeating Freilich and the Israeli team 45-29.

The final match against sixth seeded Hungary was very tough. France was ahead 22-21 when Cannone began the second to last bout. It was important to bring the score as close as possible to 40 without losing the lead. The Hungarians put in their best fencer, Zsombor Banyai, who won silver in the individual event. Perhaps they hoped to take advantage of France’s least experienced, first year rookie, but Cannone held his ground and even increased France’s lead to 31-29. The final bout was very intense; France was ahead 44-41 and in the last five seconds, Hungary started to make a big comeback. Still, Cannone recalled, “we just knew we were going to win.” And they did, by 1 point. With the final score of 45-44, France’s team and NYFA’s Cannone, became the 2015 European Junior Champions.

In his last international competition for the season, Cannone will be competing in the World Championship team event in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on April 1.

Romain Cannone (left) Team France - Gold, European Junior Championships Maribor Slovenia
Romain Cannone (left) with Team France – European Junior Champions

New York Fencing Academy (NYFA) was founded in 2010 by owner and head coach Misha Mokretsov and is located in Brooklyn, NY. NYFA is quickly becoming a center for excellence in epee, with one of the strongest competitive epee youth and cadet programs in the tri-state area. In just four years, NYFA has produced many nationally-ranked fencers earning Champion and Finalist titles at International and National competitions, including a European Champion on the French junior national team. NYFA provides private lessons, group classes, and camps for students of all ages and all levels, beginners to advanced. Visit for more info.


Contact: Misha Mokretsov
Company: New York Fencing Academy
Address: 2896 W 12th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11224
Club Phone: (718) 996-0426
Cell Phone: (347) 741-1343