Borella is the daughter of two Olympic champions in foil: her father Andrea won a gold medal at the Los Angeles 1984 Games, while her mother Francesca Bortolozzi took silver at the Seoul 1988 Games and a gold at both the Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996 Games.
Italy's Claudia Borella says she doesn’t feel the pressure of her family ties
“I don’t feel any pressure being the daughter of two Olympic gold medallists,” said Borella. “To me it’s normal: they are my mum and dad before being my coaches.
“They didn't even push me to pick their sport when I was a kid, but the first place I ever saw out of my house was the fencing gym. Still I only started fencing when I was eight,” she added.
“Of course, I’ve been told that I should strive to achieve my mum’s and dad’s results, but I don’t care too much about what people say. I want to win a medal for myself, not because of my family’s success at the Olympics.”
Sabrina Massialas of the USA is focusing on own performances
For her part, Massialas is hoping to follow in the footsteps of her 20-year-old brother Alex, who won a silver medal in the men’s foil at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010 and is now ranked number seven in the world.
She is coached by their father, Greg, himself a three-time Olympian who was born in Athens and competed for the USA at the Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988 Games.
Massialas arrives at Nanjing 2014 after two silver medals in the women’s foil at the Cadet World Championships, the most recent of which was won in Plovdiv (BUL) in April 2014.
“Sometimes I think about the pressure, because there are so many big footsteps to follow and they [her father and brother] have accomplished so many great things,” she reflects.
“But I try to focus on myself and my own path. I try not to let any pressure affect me and just go my own way.
“I know Claudia [Borella] very well, we’re good friends. It’s cool our parents were fencing at the same time, they all know each other and now me and Claudia are the second generation.”