As 2014 comes to a close, USA Fencing’s members have made history at all levels. Take a look back at 14 of the year’s best moments:
The U.S. Women’s Saber Team won its third Senior World Championship title in Kazan, Russia where Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.), Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.), Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.) and Eliza Stone (Chicago, Ill.) defeated top-ranked Ukraine in the semifinals and France for gold. The win marked the third team saber gold medal at the Senior Worlds for Team USA which also won titles in 2005 and 2000. Team USA’s World Championship gold medal was its third during the 2013-2014 season and secured the Overall World Cup title for the U.S. Women’s Saber Team.
Zagunis, a two-time Olympic Champion, remained one of the most dominant forces in women’s saber in 2014 with four individual medal wins on the World Cup circuit. Zagunis ended an outstanding individual season with a silver medal in Kazan after qualifying for her fourth individual Senior World final since 2009. With a No. 2 World Ranking, Zagunis continues to be one of Team USA's top medal prospects for the Rio Olympic Games.
In January, two-time Olympian Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.) became the first U.S. foil fencer to earn a No. 1 world ranking in the senior standings. Meinhardt opened the season with a bronze medal at the Paris World Cup and won his first Grand Prix gold in Tokyo where he led a historic result with three U.S. fencers on the podium as teammates Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) and Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.) each took bronze. After a gold medal win at the Pan American Championships, Meinhardt finished fifth at the Senior Worlds in July.
After taking silver at the 2011 Junior Worlds and bronze in 2012 and 2013, London Olympic foil fencer Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.) won her first individual title at the 2014 Junior World Championships during the final year of her junior career in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Kiefer added a gold in the team event to conclude her junior eligibility with a total of nine Junior and four Cadet World medals.
The U.S. Women’s Foil Team returned to the top of the podium in Plovdiv to win its first Junior World title since 2009. Kiefer and teammates Sabrina Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.), Jackie Dubrovich (Riverdale, N.J.) and Margaret Lu (Greenwich, Conn.) upset Italy in the semifinals – ending the Italians’ quest for a fourth straight title. Team USA went on to defeat Russia in the gold medal final.
Columbus was the home of the largest fencing tournament ever when the USA Fencing National Championships and July North American Cup came to Ohio’s capital city. A total of 4,166 athletes competed in 89 events as titles were awarded to athletes in age categories from Youth-10 to Veteran +70.
Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) became the first U.S. women’s epee fencer ever to win a medal at a Grand Prix tournament in May when she took a silver medal in Havana, Cuba where she defeated 2012 Olympic medalists Britta Heidemann (GER) and Yujie Sun (CHN).
After winning silver at the Cadet World Championships in Bulgaria, Sabrina Massialas ended her cadet career with a gold medal at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing. Not only did Massialas become the first U.S. fencer ever to win gold at the event, but she was the U.S. delegation’s first gold medalist of the Games in any sport.
Team USA’s veteran fencers heard the Star Spangled Banner play six times at the Veteran World Champion in Debrecen, Hungary. In the individual events, Elizabeth Kocab (Farmington Hills, Mich.), Jane Eyre (Swedesboro, N.J.), Ellen O’Leary (Decatur, Ga.) and Jennette Starks-Faulkner (Middletown, Conn.) each won gold medals. Team USA would be back on the podium in the team events when the Americans won gold in both men’s and women’s saber.
USA Fencing received a grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs for a new program to introduce disabled veterans and members of the armed forces to wheelchair fencing. The Embrace, Empower, En Garde! Program will kick off in 2015 with clinics held with rehabilitation programs and local Veteran Service Organizations in four cities throughout the United States.
A silver medalist at the Junior World Championships, saber fencer Sage Palmedo (Portland, Ore.) earned the No. 1 world ranking in September after winning gold at the San Jose Junior World Cup in Costa Rica. In December, Palmedo added a second gold to her 2014 resume with a title at the Dormagen Junior World Cup.
London Olympian Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) won his first World Championship medal as a 14-year-old in 2009 with a bronze at the Cadet Worlds and followed with a team silver at the Junior Worlds. Over the course of six Junior and Cadet World Championships, Massialas won a total of 13 medals, including six gold. In April, he concluded his junior career with an individual bronze and team silver, making him the most decorated fencer in the history of the tournament.
A silver medalist at the 2013 Wheelchair World Championships, Category C fencer Curtis Lovejoy (College Park, Ga.) was back on the podium for Team USA this fall with two medal wins at the Warsaw World Cup. Lovejoy took gold in the foil competition and silver in epee. A five-time Paralympian, 56-year-old Lovejoy also competes in swimming and set a World Record in the 100-meter breast stroke at the International German Championships in April.
USA Fencing’s membership numbers reached an all-time high during the 2013-2014 season with nearly 34,000 individuals registering as athletes, coaches, volunteers, officials and supporters. More than 550 clubs are already registered for the 2014-2015 season as the sport continues to grow throughout the United States.
Tag(s): News Archive Jacqueline Dubrovich Jane Eyre Courtney Hurley Race Imboden Elizabeth Kocab Alexander Massialas Gerek Meinhardt Ibtihaj Muhammad Dagmara Wozniak Mariel Zagunis Lee Kiefer Latest News Eliza Stone Sabrina Massialas Ellen O'Leary