Joanne Norell | March 22, 2017
University of Notre Dame senior women’s foilist Lee Kiefer is used to being at the top.
But there were peaks even the two-time Olympian and three-time NCAA Champion hadn’t yet reached — until now.
Kiefer claimed her second FIE Grand Prix gold medal on Saturday, in the process earning a No. 1 world ranking — becoming the first American women’s foil fencer to achieve either feat.
Kiefer defeated Russia’s Marta Martynova 15-4 in the championship bout at the Absolute Fencing Gear FIE Grand Prix Long Beach over the weekend. It was her fourth straight Grand Prix medal and third consecutive international podium finish. The Versailles, Kentucky, native has won three international titles and six medals within the last 12 months.
“Besides an Olympic medal, obtaining a world No. 1 ranking has always been my dream,” Kiefer told U.S. Fencing. “I remember when the U.S. Foil Team was the youngest team with a lot of talent. It was hard to imagine the day that we would reach our potential and be the people to beat.”
The 22-year-old Kiefer becomes just the eighth American fencer to reach a No. 1 world ranking in her weapon, but the third with Notre Dame ties. Two-time Olympic champion Mariel Zagunis (women’s sabre) and 2016 Olympic team bronze medalist Gerek Meinhardt (men’s foil) have also spent time atop the world rankings.