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U.S. Olympic Fencing Team Announced at Celebration of Champions in Richmond

04/12/2016, 7:15pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

(Richmond, Va.) – USA Fencing announced the members of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Fencing Team during the Celebration of Champions ceremony in Richmond, Va. on Monday night.

The evening marked the culmination of a year-long qualification process for Team USA that saw its 17 members travel to 10 international and five domestic events across four continents since April of 2015.

The team announcement marked the first time athletes from each of the six weapon squads could join together after securing their berths on Team USA. U.S. Olympic Fencing Team members were joined by family, friends and members of the fencing community on the final day of the USA Fencing National Championships.

“We all really enjoyed the celebration last night. During the qualification year, we didn't get many chances to see our teammates from other squads since everyone was fully invested in training and traveling,” said Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.) who qualified for his third Olympic Team at just 25-years-old. “It was great to finally have the chance to enjoy that moment with all of them and acknowledge each other's hard work and accomplishments.”

The U.S. Olympic Fencing Team includes 11 members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team and five athletes that are each ranked in the top four in the world in their respective weapons.

Three members of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team are past medalists, including two-time Olympic Champion Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.) and 2012 U.S. Olympic Team bronze medalists Kelley and Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas).

In addition, 10 athletes on the 2016 team are past Senior World Championships medalists:

  • Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore. / Saber), five-time Senior World Champion
  • Miles Chamley-Watson (New York City, N.Y. / Foil), 2013 Senior World Champion
  • Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J. / Saber), 2014 Senior World Team Champion
  • Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J. / Saber), 2014 Senior World Team Champion
  • Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif. / Foil), three-time Senior World medalist
  • Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif. / Foil), two-time Senior World medalist
  • Daryl Homer (Bronx, N.Y. / Saber), 2015 Senior World silver medalist
  • Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y. / Foil), 2015 Senior World bronze medalist
  • Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky. / Foil), 2011 Senior World bronze medalist
  • Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y. / Foil), 2013 Senor World team silver medalist

“The 2016 Olympic Team is made up of not only great athletes, but also great ambassadors for our sport.  We look forward to seeing this group shine in Rio as they take on the world,” said USA Fencing Sports Performance Director Kate Reisinger (Colorado Springs, Colo.) who will serve as the team leader for the USA Fencing Team in Rio. “USA Fencing also would like to thank all of the coaches, parents, friends and family of our Olympians. Each of these athletes has spent years training for the moment where they will be able to represent Team USA on the Olympic stage, but it wouldn’t be possible without the support of their families and clubs back home who have been with them every step of the way.”    

In addition to individual events, the U.S. Fencing Team will compete in three of the four team events on the Rio program: men’s foil, women’s saber and women’s epee. For the first time ever, Team USA will enter the Games as past Olympic or World medalists in each of these events.

The U.S. Men’s Foil Team reached not only a No. 1 world ranking during the quad, but Team USA won a silver medal (a first for the foil program) in 2013 and qualified for Rio after taking podium finishes at three of the four World Cups this season, including golds in Tokyo and Paris. With three athletes (Massialas, Meinhardt and Imboden) each ranked in the top four in the world, Team USA poses a threat for the top spot on the podium.

Since the addition of women’s saber to the Olympic program in 2004, the team event has only been held once at the Games with the United States winning bronze in 2008. Team USA is among the favorites to medal again after winning gold at the World Team Championships in 2014 and a medal at every Worlds since 2011.

In 2012, the U.S. Women’s Epee Team had a breakthrough performance with a bronze medal finish and an upset of Russia in the finals. With the Hurley sisters returning to the team again and Team USA taking bronze at two World Cups already this year, Team USA is again in the hunt for an Olympic podium finish.

From Ohio and Oregon to California and New York, Team USA’s athletes come from seven states and the District of Columbia. Sixteen members of the team are current or former NCAA fencers who represented the following universities: Notre Dame (5), Penn State (3), St. John’s (2), Princeton (1), Harvard (1), Stanford (1), Duke (1), Ohio State (1) and Columbia (1).

Team USA’s 17 athletes train at nine clubs throughout the nation with the following programs boasting Olympians on the 2016 roster:

New York Athletic Club
Katharine Holmes (Washington, D.C.)
Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas)
Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas)
Jason Pryor (South Euclid, Ohio)
Katarzyna Trzopek (Redwood City, Calif.)

Fencers Club
Miles Chamley-Watson (New York City, N.Y.)

Manhattan Fencing Center
Monica Aksamit (Matawan, N.J.)
Daryl Homer (Bronx, N.Y.)
Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.)

Massialas Foundation
Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)
Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.)

Peter Westbrook Foundation
Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.)
Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

Bluegrass Fencers’ Club
Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.)

Oregon Fencing Alliance
Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.)

Zeta Fencing
Eli Dershwitz (Sherborn, Mass.)

Brooklyn Bridge Fencing Club
Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

The complete roster of athletes that will be nominated to the 2016 U.S. Olympic Fencing Team is as follows (all nominations pending final approval of the U.S. Olympic Committee). * denotes returning Olympian:

Men’s Epee
Jason Pryor (South Euclid, Ohio / Ohio State)

Men’s Foil
*Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif. / Stanford)
*Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif. / Notre Dame)
*Miles Chamley-Watson (New York City, N.Y. / Penn State)
Team Replacement Athlete: Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

Men’s Saber
Eli Dershwitz (Sherborn, Mass. / Harvard)
*Daryl Homer (Bronx, N.Y. / St. John’s)

Women’s Epee
*Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas / Notre Dame)
*Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas / Notre Dame)
Kat Holmes (Washington, D.C. / Princeton)
Team Replacement Athlete: Katarzyna Trzopek (Redwood Hills, Calif. / Penn State)

Women’s Foil
*Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky. / Notre Dame)
*Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y. / Columbia)

Women’s Saber
*Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore. / Notre Dame)
Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J. / Duke)
*Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J. / St. John’s)
Team Replacement Athlete: Monica Aksamit (Matawan, N.J. / Penn State)

All athletes listed will compete in both the individual and team event in Rio except otherwise noted where the team replacement athletes will travel to Rio and may be utilized in the team competitions. 

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