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Team USA Fencers Heading to Pan Am Games This October, Hoping to Match Their Success from 2019

09/12/2023, 8:15am CDT
By Bryan Wendell

After earning 10 gold medals at the 2019 Pan Am Games in Peru, Team USA’s squad of Olympians and Olympic hopefuls heads to Santiago on a wave of optimism and team spirit.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Fifteen fencers from the United States, including Olympic medalists, Olympic hopefuls and talented teenagers, will represent Team USA at the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile.

The fencing competition, set for Oct. 30 to Nov. 4, will bring together 15 nations from across the region, including USA Fencing’s nearest neighbors — Canada and Mexico — as well as some of the best fencers from Central America, the Caribbean and South America.

While this competition doesn’t count toward qualification or rankings for the Paris Olympics, the tournament has historically served as an opportunity for Team USA fencers to sharpen their skills against the region’s best, build team camaraderie and experience the unforgettable atmosphere at one of the largest multisport competitions in the world. 

And with just 265 days between the end of fencing at the Pan Am Games and the start of fencing at the 2024 Olympic Games, the timing is right for Team USA to continue its march toward Paris.

Team USA has earned at least one medal in fencing at every Pan American Games since the very first one in 1951. The United States leads the overall fencing medal count with 178 total medals, including 80 gold. Cuba is second with 118 total medals, followed by Argentina with 55.

At the 2019 Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru, the United States medaled in 10 of 12 fencing events, earning individual and team gold in every discipline except Men’s Epee.  

This year, Team USA will compete in five of six disciplines: Men’s Epee, Women’s Foil, Men’s Foil, Women’s Saber and Men’s Saber. 

Storylines to Watch

  • Defending the Crown: At the last Pan Am Games in 2019, Team USA swept the gold medals in five weapons, winning both team and individual gold in women’s epee, women’s foil, women’s saber, men’s foil and men’s saber. With a promising mix of seasoned Pan Am Games veterans and talented newcomers, the United States will fight to retain its spot atop the medal stand in 2023. 

  • Power Couple: Married Olympians Lee Kiefer and Gerek Meinhardt took home matching double golds at the Pan Am Games in 2019, winning the top prizes in both the individual and team events. They’re back again in 2023, looking to bring home more medals and continue their strong momentum toward Paris 2024.

  • The Next Level: Magda Skarbonkiewicz, the 17-year-old women’s saber fencer from Oregon, will see Santiago as an opportunity to continue her stellar 2023. In April in Bulgaria, Skarbonkiewicz won a second consecutive Junior World Championship, cementing her spot as one of the world’s most talented under-20 fencers. In June, facing some of the same fencers she’ll see in Santiago, Skarbonkiewicz won gold at the Pan American Senior Championships.

  • Aiming for Four: Tokyo Olympic Champion Lee Kiefer, the first American ever to win Olympic gold in foil, is on a hot streak at the Pan Am Games. She’s won individual gold at the last three Pan Am Games (2011, 2015 and 2019) and will be aiming for her fourth in 2023.

  • Strength in Team: Team USA is on an unbelievable run in the men’s foil and men’s saber team events. In men’s saber, the United States has won gold in five straight — 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019. Things look similarly good in men’s foil, where Team USA has won four in a row — 2003, 2011, 2015 and 2019. (The men’s foil team event wasn’t contested in 2007.)

Athletes to Watch

Note: All 15 members of Team USA would be considered Athletes to Watch. After all, these are 15 of the nation's best fencers. Here are just a few highlights on a stacked squad:

  • Lee Kiefer: The Tokyo Olympic Champion ended the 2022-23 season ranked No. 1 in the world and will look to continue that strong fencing as the Paris Games approach. She’ll be striving for her fourth straight Pan Am Games gold in Santiago after winning her first in 2011 when she was just 17.

  • Gerek Meinhardt: The four-time Olympian, two-time Olympic bronze medalist and husband of Olympic Champion Lee Kiefer finished the 2022-23 season as the world No. 2 in men’s foil. He’ll hope to continue that strong run as he defends his Pan Am Games gold in Santiago and trains for a stunning fifth Olympics.

  • Nick Itkin: The 2020 Olympic bronze medalist is fresh off his best finish yet — a silver medal at the 2023 FIE Fencing World Championships in front of a raucous crowd in Milan, Italy. Itkin will be headed to Santiago for his second Pan Am Games, having won team gold alongside Gerek Meinhardt and Race Imboden in 2019.

  • Magda Skarbonkiewicz: The 17-year-old women’s saber fencer from Oregon won team and individual gold at the 2023 Pan American Senior Championships against a similar grouping of nations from the region. The result, along with her second straight Junior Women’s Saber world championship in April, capped off a stellar season for Skarbonkiewicz, who is hoping to make her first Olympic team next year.


Each qualified country is allowed to send two fencers for the individual event, plus a third who competes only in the team event. Team USA qualified teams in five of six weapons: Men’s Epee, Women’s Foil, Men’s Foil, Women’s Saber and Men’s Saber.

Fencing results at the Pan Am Games don’t count toward qualification for the Paris Olympics. But fencers who do well in Santiago will hope to carry that momentum into their first FIE competitions of the season in November. Paris qualification runs through April, and our Paris Tracker can be found here.


For each weapon at the Pan Am Games, we offer a spot on the roster to the top three individuals on the USA Fencing Senior National Team Point Standings as of the 2023 Senior World Team selection date. 

Fencers ranked first and second fence in both the individual and team events, while the third-ranked fencer competes in the team event only.

If a fencer chose to decline their nomination to the 2023 Pan American Games, USA Fencing offered their spot to the next-highest-ranked fencer on the Senior National Team Point Standings as of the original selection date.

Meet the Team

The lineup for Team USA looks like this, with the first two fencers listed competing in individual and team and the third competing in team only.

Women's Foil

  • Lee Kiefer OLY

    • Age: 29

    • Club: Bluegrass Fencers’ Club

    • Hometown: Lexington, Ky.

  • Jackie Dubrovich OLY

    • Age: 29

    • Club: New Jersey Fencing Alliance 

    • Hometown: Riverdale, N.J.

  • Zander Rhodes

    • Age: 20

    • Club: V Fencing Club, Columbia University

    • Hometown: South Orange, N.J.

Men's Foil

  • Gerek Meinhardt OLY

    • Age: 33

    • Club: Massialas Foundation, Bluegrass Fencers’ Club

    • Hometown: Lexington, Ky.

  • Nick Itkin OLY

    • Age: 24

    • Club: Los Angeles International Fencing Center 

    • Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.

  • Miles Chamley-Watson OLY

    • Age: 33

    • Club: Los Angeles International Fencing Center 

    • Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.

Women's Saber

  • Magda Skarbonkiewicz

    • Age: 17

    • Club: Oregon Fencing Alliance

    • Hometown: Portland, Ore.

  • Maia Chamberlain

    • Age: 25

    • Club: Manhattan Fencing Center, Advance Fencing and Fitness Academy

    • Hometown: Menlo Park, Calif.

  • Alexis Anglade

    • Age: 22

    • Club: Bergen Fencing Club, Princeton University

    • Hometown: Alpharetta, Ga.

Men's Saber

  • Andrew Doddo

    • Age: 25

    • Club: New Jersey Fencing Alliance

    • Hometown: South Orange, N.J.

  • Filip Dolegiewicz

    • Age: 23

    • Club: Midwest Fencing Club

    • Hometown: Park Ridge, Ill.

  • Josef Cohen

    • Age: 25

    • Club: Peter Westbrook Foundation, Fencers Club

    • Hometown: Barrington, R.I.

Men's Epee

  • Curtis McDowald OLY

    • Age: 27

    • Clubs: Peter Westbrook Foundation, Fencers Club  

    • Hometown: Queens, N.Y.

  • Samuel Imrek

    • Age: 18

    • Club: Alliance Fencing Academy

    • Hometown: Missouri City, Texas

  • Samuel Larsen

    • Age: 34

    • Club: Northwest Fencing Center

    • Hometown: Beaverton, Ore.

Ages are as of the start of fencing competition at the Pan Am Games

Meet the Competition

The top fencers from these countries are expected to compete at the Pan Am Games:

  • Argentina

  • Brazil

  • Canada

  • Chile

  • Colombia

  • Cuba

  • Ecuador

  • Mexico

  • Panama

  • Paraguay

  • Peru

  • Puerto Rico

  • United States

  • Venezuela

  • Virgin Islands

What’s at Stake

While the fencing competition at the Pan Am Games doesn’t count toward Paris Olympic qualification, the athletes will hope to continue Team USA’s unmatched history at the quadrennial tournament. 

Of the 54 summer sports in which Team USA has medaled at the Pan Am Games, fencing is the United States’ sixth-most-successful by total gold medals, trailing swimming, athletics, shooting, wrestling and artistic gymnastics. 

Team USA will also hope to defend its gold medals at this competition. At the 2019 Pan Am Games in Peru, Team USA medaled in 10 of the 12 fencing events.

Last Time Out

At the 2019 Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru, the United States medaled in 10 of 12 fencing events, earning individual and team gold in every discipline except Men’s Epee. 

Here were the Team USA gold medalists from 2019:

Women's Events

  • Individual Epee: Kat Holmes OLY

  • Team Epee: Isis Washington, Kasia Nixon, Kat Holmes OLY

  • Individual Foil: Lee Kiefer OLY

  • Team Foil: Nicole Ross OLY, Lee Kiefer OLY, Jacqueline Dubrovich OLY

  • Individual Saber: Eliza Stone OLY

  • Team Saber: Monica Aksamit OLY, Chloe Fox-Gitomer, Eliza Stone OLY

Men's Events

  • Individual Foil: Gerek Meinhardt OLY

  • Team Foil: Race Imboden OLY, Nick Itkin OLY, Gerek Meinhardt OLY

  • Individual Saber: Daryl Homer OLY

  • Team Saber: Jeffrey Spear OLY, Eli Dershwitz OLY, Daryl Homer OLY

Schedule at a Glance

  • Monday, Oct. 30: Women's Foil and Men's Epee (Individual)
  • Tuesday, Oct. 31: Women's Saber and Men's Foil (Individual)
  • Wednesday, Nov. 1: Women's Epee and Men's Saber (Individual)
  • Thursday, Nov. 2: Women's Team Foil and Men's Team Epee
  • Friday, Nov. 3: Women's Team Epee and Men's Team Saber
  • Saturday, Nov. 4: Women's Team Saber and Men's Team Foil

Tournament Format

Because of the tournament’s smaller size, individual events will proceed from pools directly into the Round of 16. Team events will feature eight countries, so everyone will start in the quarterfinals. All places will be “fenced out” (meaning a team that loses in the quarterfinals will move to a 5-8 bracket and keep fencing to determine their final placement).

Team USA Medalists at the Pan American Games

Team USA has earned a fencing medal at every Pan American Games since the very first one in 1951. The United States leads the overall fencing medal count with 178 total medals, including 80 gold. Cuba is second with 118 total medals, followed by Argentina with 55.

Women’s Epee — Individual

First contested in 1987

1987: Bronze: Vincent Bradford

1995: Gold: Leslie Marx

1999: Bronze: Nhi Lan Le

2007: Gold: Courtney Hurley

2011: Gold: Kelley Hurley, Silver: Courtney Hurley

2015: Gold: Katharine Holmes

2019: Gold: Katharine Holmes

Women’s Epee — Team

First contested in 1991

1991: Gold (Margo Miller, Donna Stone, Elaine Cheris, Laurel Clark Skillman, Cathy McClellan)

1995: Gold (Leslie Marx, Margo Miller, Rachel Hough, Donna Stone)

1999: Bronze (Stephanie Eim, Nhi Lan Le, Julie Smith, Sarah Orman)

2003: Silver (Kelley Hurley, Stephanie Eim, Elisabeth Spilman, Erinn Smart)

2011: Gold (Lindsay Campbell, Courtney Hurley, Kelley Hurley)

2015: Gold (Anna van Brummen, Katharine Holmes, Katarzyna Trzopek)

2019: Gold (Isis Washington, Catherine Nixon, Katharine Holmes)

Men’s Epee — Individual

1951: Bronze: Edward Vebell

1955: Silver: Sewall Shurtz

1959: Gold: Roland Wommack; Silver: Michael D'Asaro Sr.

1963: Gold: Frank Anger

1967: Silver: Frank Anger; Bronze: Paul Pesthy

1971: Gold: Stephen Netburn; Bronze: James Melcher

1975: Silver: Scott Bozek; Bronze: Paul Pesthy

1979: Silver: Paul Pesthy

1983: Bronze: Timothy Glass

1991: Silver: Jon Normile

1995: Silver: Tamir Bloom

1999: Silver: Tamir Bloom

2011: Gold: Weston Kelsey

2015: Bronze: Jason Pryor

Men’s Epee — Team

1951: Silver (Edward Vebell, Albert Wolff, Fred Weber, Byron Krieger, Nathaniel Lubell, Miguel de Capriles)

1955: Silver (Rex Dyer, Sewall Shurtz, Abram Cohen, Harold Goldsmith)

1959: Gold (Richard Berry, Michael D'Asaro Sr., Howard Fried, Henry Kolowrat Jr., Paul Levy, Roland Wommack)

1963: Gold (James Margolis, Gilbert Eisner, Larry Anastasi, Frank Anger, James Melcher)

1967: Gold (Frank Anger, Paul Pesthy, Ralph Spinella, Carl Borack)

1971: Gold (Robert Beck, George Masin, James Melcher, Stephen Netburn)

1975: Gold (William Reith, Paul Pesthy, Brooke Makler, Scott Bozek)

1979: Gold (Peter Schifrin, Paul Pesthy, Scott Bozek, Lee Shelley)

1983: Silver (Paul Pesthy, Peter Schifrin, Robert Nieman, Tim Glass, Stephen Trevor)

1987: Silver (Stephen Trevor, Lee Shelley, Robert Marx, Rob Stull, George Masin)

1991: Bronze (Robert Marx, Jon Normile, Joseph Socolof, Chris O'Loughlin, James Carpenter)

1995: Silver (Tamir Bloom, Michael Marx, James O'Neill, James Carpenter)

2007: Bronze (Andras Horanyi, Benjamin Ungar, Cody Mattern, Weston Kelsey)

2011: Gold (Soren Thompson, Weston Kelsey, Cody Mattern)

2015: Silver (Yeisser Ramirez, Jason Pryor, Benjamin Bratton)

Women’s Foil — Individual

1955: Gold: Maxine Mitchell; Bronze: Eve Siegel

1959: Silver: Maxine Mitchell

1963: Silver: Harriet King; Bronze: Janice Romary

1967: Silver: Harriet King

1971: Silver: Ruth White

1975: Silver: Nikki Franke

1979: Bronze: Nikki Franke

1987: Gold: Caitlin Bilodeaux

1991: Bronze: Caitlin Bilodeaux

1995: Gold: Ann Marsh; Bronze: Felicia Zimmermann

2003: Silver: Emily Cross; Bronze: Erinn Smart

2007: Silver: Hanna Thompson

2011: Gold: Lee Kiefer; Silver: Nzingha Prescod

2015: Gold: Lee Kiefer; Bronze: Nicole Ross

2019: Gold: Lee Kiefer

Women’s Foil — Team

First contested in 1959

1959: Gold (Harriet King, Maxine Mitchell, Vivienne Sokol)

1963: Gold (Vivienne Sokol, Maxine Mitchell, Janice Romary, Anne Drungis, Tommy Angell)

1967: Gold (Harriet King, Janice Romary, Maxine Mitchell, Veronica Smith)

1971: Gold (Tommy Angell, Emily Grompone, Harriet King, Ruth White)

1975: Bronze (Denise O'Connor, Nikki Franke, Sheila Armstrong, Ann O'Donnell, Gay D'Asaro)

1979: Bronze (Debra Waples, Gay D'Asaro, Ann O'Donnell, Nikki Franke, Vincent Bradford)

1983: Silver (Debra Waples, Jana Angelakis, Margo Miller, Vincent Bradford, Andrea Metkus)

1987: Gold (Caitlin Bilodeaux, Elaine Cheris, Mary O'Neill, Sharon Monplaisir)

1991: Gold (Caitlin Bilodeaux, Sharon Monplaisir, Molly Sullivan, Ann Marsh, Jane Hall)

1995: Silver (Ann Marsh, Felicia Zimmermann, Olga Chernyak, Monique de Bruin)

1999: Bronze (Stephanie Eim, Susan Jennings, Julie Smith, Iris Zimmermann)

2011: Gold (Lee Kiefer, Nzingha Prescod, Doris Willette, Ibtihaj Muhammad)

2015: Silver (Lee Kiefer, Nzingha Prescod, Nicole Ross)

2019: Gold (Nicole Ross, Lee Kiefer, Jacqueline Dubrovich)

Men’s Foil — Individual

1951: Bronze: Nathaniel Lubell

1955: Gold: Harold Goldsmith; Silver: Albert Axelrod

1959: Gold: Harold Goldsmith; Silver: Albert Axelrod; Bronze: Joseph Paletta Jr.

1963: Silver: Albert Axelrod; Bronze: Herbert Cohen

1967: Silver: Albert Axelrod

1971: Bronze: Uriah Jones

1975: Gold: Martin Lang

1979: Bronze: John Nonna

1983: Bronze: Greg Massialas

1987: Bronze: Michael Marx

1991: Bronze: Nick Bravin

1995: Bronze: Eric Bravin

1999: Bronze: Zaddick Longenbach

2003: Gold: Dan Kellner; Silver: Jonathan Tiomkin

2007: Gold: Andras Horanyi

2011: Gold: Alexander Massialas

2015: Gold: Alexander Massialas; Silver: Gerek Meinhardt

2019: Gold: Gerek Meinhardt; Bronze: Race Imboden

Men’s Foil — Team

1951: Gold (Nathaniel Lubell, Edward Vebell, Byron Krieger, Albert Wolff, Miguel de Capriles, Tibor Nyilas)

1955: Silver (Albert Axelrod, Paul Makler Sr., Harold Goldsmith, Allan Kwartler)

1959: Gold (Albert Axelrod, Eugene Glazer, Harold Goldsmith, Joseph Paletta Jr., Ed Richards, Lawrence Silverman)

1963: Gold (Ed Richards, Herbert Cohen, Albert Axelrod, Martin Davis)

1967: Silver (Ed Richards, Robert Russell, Jeffrey Checkes, Albert Axelrod)

1971: Gold (Carl Borack, Daniel Cantillon, Uriah Jones, Tyrone Simmons)

1975: Silver (Edward Ballinger, Albert Davis, Walter Krause, Martin Lang)

1979: Silver (Michael Marx, Greg Massialas, Edward Donofrio, John Nonna)

1983: Silver (Mark Smith, Greg Massialas, Jack Tichacek, Michael Marx)

1987: Bronze (Michael Marx, Peter Lewison, Greg Massialas, Dave Littell)

1991: Silver (Nick Bravin, Deidic Hinton, Jerome Demarque)

1995: Silver (Nick Bravin, Zaddick Longenbach, Alan Weber, Sean McClain)

1999: Silver (Cliff Bayer, Dan Kellner, David Lidow, Zaddick Longenbach)

2003: Gold (Jedediah Dupree, Dan Kellner, Soren Thompson, Jonathan Tiomkin)

2011: Gold (Miles Chamley-Watson, Alexander Massialas, Gerek Meinhardt)

2015: Gold (Miles Chamley-Watson, Alexander Massialas, Gerek Meinhardt)

2019: Gold (Race Imboden, Nick Itkin, Gerek Meinhardt)

Women’s Saber — Individual

First contested in 2003

2003: Gold: Sada Jacobson; Bronze: Emily Jacobson

2007: Silver: Alexis Jemal; Bronze: Emma Baratta

2011: Gold: Mariel Zagunis

2015: Gold: Dagmara Wozniak

2019: Gold: Anne-Elizabeth Stone

Women’s Saber — Team

First contested in 2007

2007: Silver (Emma Baratta, Eileen Grench, Alexis Jemal, Hanna Thompson)

2011: Gold (Ibtihaj Muhammad, Mariel Zagunis, Dagmara Wozniak, Lindsay Campbell)

2015: Gold (Ibtihaj Muhammad, Dagmara Wozniak, Mariel Zagunis)

2019: Gold (Monica Aksamit, Chloe Fox-Gitomer, Anne-Elizabeth Stone)

Men’s Saber — Individual

1951: Gold: Tibor Nyilas; Silver: George Worth

1955: Silver: George Worth; Bronze: Rex Dyer

1959: Gold: Allan Kwartler; Silver: Walter Farber

1963: Gold: Michael D'Asaro Sr.; Silver: Walter Farber; Bronze: Chaba Pallaghy

1967: Gold: Anthony Keane

1971: Gold: Alex Orban

1975: Bronze: Peter Westbrook

1979: Silver: Peter Westbrook

1983: Gold: Peter Westbrook

1987: Silver: Peter Westbrook

1991: Gold: Steve Mormando

1995: Gold: Peter Westbrook

1999: Silver: Akhnaten Spencer-El

2003: Gold: Ivan Lee; Bronze: Jason Rogers

2007: Silver: James Williams

2011: Silver: Tim Morehouse

2015: Gold: Eli Dershwitz

2019: Gold: Daryl Homer

Men’s Saber — Team

1951: Gold (George Worth, Nathaniel Lubell, Byron Krieger, Fred Weber, Miguel de Capriles, Tibor Nyilas)

1955: Gold (George Worth, Rex Dyer, Tibor Nyilas, Allan Kwartler)

1959: Gold (Walter Farber, William Goering, Allan Kwartler, Robert Blum, Tibor Nyilas, George Worth)

1963: Gold (Ed Richards, Harold Mayer, Alfonso Morales, Miklos Chaba Pallaghy, Walter Farber, Michael D'Asaro Sr.)

1967: Gold (Anthony Keane, Walter Farber, Thomas Balla, Csaba Gall)

1971: Silver (Alex Orban, Anthony Keane, Jenő Hámori, William Goering)

1975: Silver (Peter Westbrook, Paul Apostol, Stephen Kaplan, Alex Orban, Thomas Losonczy)

1979: Silver (Peter Westbrook, Philip Reilly, Stanley Lekach, Edgar House)

1983: Silver (Peter Westbrook, Philip Reilly, Stan Lekach, Edgar House, Steve Mormando)

1987: Silver (Peter Westbrook, Bob Cottingham, Steve Mormando, Michael Lofton, Paul Friedberg)

1991: Silver (Peter Westbrook, Steve Mormando, Michael Lofton, John Friedberg, David Stollman)

1995: Gold (Peter Westbrook, John Friedberg, Michael D'Asaro Jr., Tom Strzalkowski)

1999: Bronze (Terrence Lasker, Herby Raynaud, Keeth Smart, Akhnaten Spencer-El)

2003: Gold (Weston Kelsey, Ivan Lee, Jason Rogers, Adam Crompton)

2007: Gold (Benjamin Igoe, Benjamin Ungar, James Williams, Tim Hagamen)

2011: Gold (Benjamin Igoe, Tim Morehouse, James Williams)

2015: Gold (Eli Dershwitz, Daryl Homer, Jeff Spear)

2019: Gold (Jeffrey Spear, Eli Dershwitz, Daryl Homer)

Tag(s): Updates  2023 Pan Am Games