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Lee Kiefer follows Olympic fencing title with world championships medal

Lee Kiefer

CHIBA, JAPAN - JULY 25: Lee Kiefer of Team United States celebrates winning the Women’s Foil Individual Fencing Gold Medal Bout against Inna Deriglazova of Team ROC on day two of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Makuhari Messe Hall on July 25, 2021 in Chiba, Japan. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images,)

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Lee Kiefer, who in Tokyo became the second U.S. woman to win an Olympic fencing gold medal, claimed foil bronze at the world championships in Cairo on Tuesday.

Kiefer, 28 and ranked No. 1 in the world, won her first four bouts before falling to Italian veteran Arianna Errigo 15-14 in the semifinals. Kiefer rallied from an 11-4 deficit to take a 14-13 lead against Errigo, the 2012 Olympic silver medalist and nine-time individual world championships medalist.

Frenchwoman Ysaora Thibus defeated Errigo 15-10 in the final. At fencing worlds, there is no bronze-medal bout. All semifinalists earn a medal.

Kiefer earned her second individual world championships medal and her first since 2011 (also bronze). She became the first American to win an individual world medal since 2018.

Last year, Kiefer joined Mariel Zagunis as U.S. women to win Olympic fencing gold. She trained during the pandemic on a strip she helped build in her parents’ basement.

Zagunis, the 2004 and 2008 Olympic sabre champion and the most decorated fencer in U.S. history, has not competed internationally since the Tokyo Games, where she lost in the quarterfinals. She did not qualify for a world championships team for the first time since 2000, when she was 15 years old.

“She is not done yet,” her agent said last month after the world team was named. “She has been on hiatus attending to a personal matter, a very good one.”

Kiefer’s husband, Gerek Meinhardt, a two-time Olympic team foil bronze medalist, competes in the individual foil at worlds on Wednesday.

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