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Lee Kiefer Becomes First U.S. Women’s Foil Fencer to Earn No. 1 World Ranking

03/20/2017, 3:30am CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Lee Kiefer after her gold medal win in Long Beach. Photo Credit: Serge Timacheff / FIE

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – At just 22-years-old, Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.) has reached new heights of an already historic fencing career, becoming the first U.S. women’s foil fencer to earn a No. 1 world ranking.

The two-time Olympian won gold on Saturday at the Absolute Fencing Gear® FIE Grand Prix Long Beach – her fourth consecutive Grand Prix medal and third straight international podium finish. Kiefer’s win makes her the first U.S. women’s foil fencer to win two Grand Prix titles.

With three international titles and six medals within the last 12 months, Kiefer’s latest gold medal allowed her to move past 2012 Olympic individual silver medalist Arianna Errigo (ITA).

Although Kiefer and Errigo did not fence each other in Long Beach, Kiefer now holds a 2-1 record against the seven-time Senior World Champion in their last three meetings with wins against Errigo at both the Shanghai and Havana Grand Prix tournaments in 2016.

“Besides an Olympic medal, obtaining a world number one ranking has always been my dream,” said Kiefer who won a bronze medal at the Senior World Championships in 2011 as the second U.S. women’s foil fencer in history to reach the individual podium at the event. “I remember when the U.S. Foil Team was the youngest team with a lot of talent. It was hard to image the day that we would reach our potential and be the people to beat.”

Kiefer is one of only a handful of Americans to reach the top position in the world and joins Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) who holds the World No. 1 for men’s foil. Other U.S. athletes who have achieved the honor include:

  • Two-time Olympic Champion Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore. / Saber)
  • Three-time Olympic medalist Sada Jacobson-Bâby (Ann Arbor, Mich. / Saber)
  • Two-time Olympic medalist Becca Ward (Washington, D.C. / Saber)
  • Two-time Olympic medalist Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif. / Foil)
  • 2016 Olympic team bronze medalist Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif. / Foil)
  • 2016 Olympic team bronze medalist Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y. / Foil)
  • 2008 Olympic team silver medalist Keeth Smart (Brooklyn, N.Y. / Saber)

I am very honored to be among fencers with such amazing accomplishments. I finally feel some satisfaction with my fencing but know that I still have a lot of work to do,” Kiefer said.

In addition to Kiefer’s ascent to the top of the world rankings, the latest FIE lists have five fencers from four continents holding the top position.

While Kiefer and Massialas are the top foilists in the world, the epee positions are held by Sara Besbes (TUN) and Sanyoung Park (KOR). The No. 1 saberists are Yana Egorian (RUS) and Junghwan Kim (KOR).

Overall, Team USA has eight athletes ranked among the top 10 in their respective weapons:

  • No. 1 Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif. / Foil), two-time Olympic medalist and two-time Senior World medalist
  • No. 1 Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky. / Foil), two-time Olympian and 2011 Senior World bronze medalist
  • No. 5 Daryl Homer (Bronx, N.Y. / Saber), 2016 Olympic silver medalist and 2015 Senior World silver medalist
  • No. 5 Nicole Ross (New York City, N.Y. / Foil), 2012 Olympian
  • No. 6 Miles Chamley-Watson (New York City, N.Y. / Foil), 2016 Olympic team bronze medalist 2013 Senior World Champion
  • No. 7 Eli Dershwitz (Sherborn, Mass. / Saber), 2016 Olympian
  • No. 8 Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore. / Saber), two-time Olympic Champion and five-time Senior World Champion
  • No. 9 Race Imboden (New York City, N.Y. / Foil), 2016 Olympic team bronze medalist and 2013 Senior World team silver medalist

Tag(s): Lee Kiefer