Team USA's women's foil team celebrates its victory in the semifinals, which guaranteed the Americans another medal at the 2022 Fencing World Championships. (Photo by #BizziTeam)
CAIRO — We love a good underdog story.
On Friday in the semifinals of the women’s foil team event, a U.S. squad that featured two talented Olympians and two exciting newcomers faced their toughest test yet.
Staring them down from the other side of the strip was a French team that won silver in this event at the Tokyo Olympics just a year earlier. And if that wasn’t daunting enough, the team’s star is Ysaora Thibus, who won the individual world title just three days earlier.
While the matchup might have favored the French on paper, Team USA came to fence.
Thanks to strong performances by the quartet of Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.), Jackie Dubrovich (Maplewood, N.J.), Maia Weintraub (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Zander Rhodes (South Orange, N.J.), Team USA pulled off the upset, 45-35, to guarantee themselves a medal.
In the finals, Team USA’s bid for a second consecutive upset fell short in the 45-27 defeat to top-seeded Italy, securing a silver medal. That’s Team USA’s third medal of the 2022 Fencing World Championships in Egypt and assured its best showing at a Senior Worlds since 2018.
With three medals — two bronze and one silver — Team USA surpasses its two-medal showing from the last time this tournament was held. At the 2019 Fencing World Championships in Hungary, Team USA earned gold in men’s team foil and bronze in women’s team foil. (The tournament was not contested in 2020 or 2021 because of COVID and the Olympics.)
This is the sixth Senior Worlds medal for Kiefer and the second for Dubrovich. Both women were on the 2019 team that earned bronze in Hungary.
For Weintraub and Rhodes, both 19, it’s the first Senior Worlds medals of their careers. Each has a pair of team medals from the Junior & Cadet World Championships — silver in 2021 and gold in 2022.
Two other Team USA squads were in action in the team events, and each qualified for the ninth and final day of competition on Saturday.
In men’s foil, the team of Nick Itkin (Los Angeles, Calif.), Chase Emmer (Morristown, N.J.), Gerek Meinhardt (Lexington, Ky.) and Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) surpassed India and Hungary to advance to the quarterfinals against Hong Kong, China.
In women’s saber, the team of Eliza Stone (Princeton, N.J.), Elizabeth Tartakovsky (Sea Bright, N.J.), Tatiana Nazlymov (Bethesda, Md.) and Honor Johnson (Bethesda, Md.) defeated Iran and Canada to advance to the quarterfinals against Japan.
Day 9 is the final day of the 2022 Fencing World Championships, and Team USA will have two more chances at medals in the women's saber and men's foil team events.
Each team won two bouts on Friday to advance to Saturday's quarterfinals.
Men's Foil (quarterfinals and on)