UK Medical Student Lee Kiefer Takes the Gold in Women's Foil

photo of Lee Kiefer competing for USA Fencing
Lee Kiefer (right) competes at an international fencing meet. Photo provided.

TOKYO (July 25, 2021) — University of Kentucky College of Medicine student and Lexington native Lee Kiefer became the first American to win a gold medal in an individual foil event defeating reigning Olympic champion Inna Deriglazova (ROC) 15-13 in Tokyo. She also earned Team USA's first fencing medal of the delayed 2020 Olympics and ninth medal since The Games began. 

In the previous rounds, Kiefer opened with a 15-4 win over Amita Berthier (SGP) in the 32, a 15-13 win over Pan American rival Eleanor Harvey (CAN), a quarterfinal win of 15-11 against Yuka Ueno (JPN), and a 15-6 win in the semifinal against 2012 Olympic team silver medalist Larisa Korobeynikova (ROC). 

The gold medal is the first won by any American in an individual foil event. Kiefer joins Team USA's Mariel Zagunis, gold medal winner in women's individual sabre in 2004 and 2008, as the only American women in fencing to win an individual gold medal.

A graduate of Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School and University of Notre Dame, Kiefer is a three-time Olympian and four-time Senior World medalist. And, she is not the only person in her family competing in Tokyo. Her husband, Gerek Meinhardt, is also a member of USA Fencing. This is Meinhardt's fourth Olympics after winning bronze in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. 

Kiefer is the second Wildcat to medal in Tokyo. Economics senior Will Shaner took the gold in the men's air rifle competition. Read more on all 22 Wildcats competing in the Olympics here.  

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.