Lee Kiefer OLY at the Busan Grand Prix and Alexander Massialas OLY at the Paris World Cup. (Photos by #BizziTeam)
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — As the 2024 Paris Olympics qualification cycle is set to begin in April, things are looking good for Team USA's foil squads.
After a string of impressive results, including the Busan Grand Prix last weekend, the United States now has both of the world's No. 1-ranked senior athletes in the FIE (International Fencing Federation) rankings in foil.
Lee Kiefer OLY and Alexander Massialas OLY now hold the top spots in their respective categories, making the United States the only country that currently has two No. 1-ranked senior fencers.
Kiefer, who finished the 2021-22 season ranked No. 1, recently won gold at the Busan Grand Prix, increasing her lead at the top of the rankings. Kiefer has 223 points, with France's Ysaora Thibus in second with 190 and Italy's Alice Volpi in third with 146.
Massialas finished fifth in Busan, increasing his point total to 172 — good enough to claim the top spot over Italy's Tommaso Marini (171 points) and Alessio Foconi (166 points).
The top 10 rankings for men's foil showcase the strength of Team USA, with three American fencers making the cut. Besides Massialas, the list includes Gerek Meinhardt OLY (ninth) and Nick Itkin OLY (10th).
Other No. 1s across the different weapons include Misaki Emura (Japan) in women's saber, Sandro Bazadze (Georgia) in men's saber, Sera Song (Korea) in women's epee, and Yannick Borel (France) in men's epee.
Throughout this season, both Kiefer and Massialas have consistently delivered impressive results.
After opening the season with a 36th place finish at the World Cup in Bonn, Germany, Massialas has been on a tear. He secured gold medals in the World Cup competitions held in Cairo, Egypt (Feb. 23, 2023) and Paris, France (Jan. 12, 2023). He also finished in the top 10 at the Grand Prix events in Busan, Korea (fifth place, March 18, 2023) and Turin, Italy (sixth place, Feb. 11, 2023).
Kiefer has similarly demonstrated exceptional consistency this season. She claimed a gold medal at the Grand Prix in Busan, Korea (March 17, 2023) and secured bronze medals in the World Cup events in Cairo, Egypt (Feb. 24, 2023) and Belgrade, Serbia (Dec. 9, 2022). Kiefer also finished 5th at the Grand Prix in Turin, Italy (Feb. 10, 2023) and earned a silver medal at the World Cup event in Paris, France (Jan. 12, 2023).
These outstanding results further solidify Kiefer and Massialas's positions as the top foil fencers in the world, and their consistency throughout the season bodes well for their upcoming performances in the 2024 Paris Olympics qualification cycle.