Pete LaFleur '90 | June 5, 2014 | Notre Dame Athletics
Transformative athletes, by definition, don’t come along all that often. That rarity is what makes them so unique, so truly impactful. They are game-changers, and all who come in contact with them can sense that special quality.
Two-time Olympic fencer Gerek Meinhardt is just such a game-changer, a trailblazer of the highest degree. The 2013 Notre Dame graduate and current MBA student recently completed his stellar collegiate career by winning the NCAA men’s foil title for the second time.
A fencing prodigy when he qualified for the 2008 Olympics as a 17-year-old, Meinhardt ascended to the world’s No. 1 men’s foil ranking earlier this year. Only four previous American fencers – including former Notre Dame women’s sabre standout Mariel Zagunis – have achieved that rarified air. In terms of being world No. 1 while still competing on the collegiate level, well, that’s happened only once: Meinhardt, in January of 2014.
Meinhardt’s transcendental impact on American fencing has resonated on three levels: initially in San Francisco at his home club, the Massialas Foundation; then, with Notre Dame, in particular the men’s foil squad; and as captain of the U.S. men’s foil team, which stands to be a medal favorite at the 2016 Rio Olympics.