By Craig Bohnert | Feb. 04, 2017, 3:56 p.m. (ET)
Lee Kiefer celebrates earning the bronze medal at the women's foil fencing world cup on Feb. 4, 2017 in Gdansk, Poland.


For world No. 2 Lee Kiefer, Saturday’s Artus Court tournament in Gdansk, Poland, was unfolding about as well as could be expected, but then an odd thing happened on the way to the podium. 

Instead of advancing to the gold-medal bout, the world’s No. 2 ranked women’s foil fencer found her day cut short in the semifinal round by an upstart Russian ranked No. 118, forcing the two-time Olympian to settle for the bronze medal.

The competition started according to script with a 15-12 win over No. 29 Edina Knapek of Hungary in the first meeting between the two athletes. Next was Colombia’s Saskia Van Erven Garcia, ranked No. 27 in the world, who fell to Kiefer for the eighth straight time by a 15-7 margin.

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That led to a quarterfinal meeting between the two-time Pan American Games gold medalist and Adelina Zagidullina. Although Kiefer had dropped her prior two matches with the No. 18-ranked Russian, she emerged a 15-10 victor to even their series at 2-2 and move into the semifinals.

That’s where things went off kilter in a match against Russia’s Svetlana Tripapina, ranked No. 118. Despite having won the first two meetings between the two, the most recent an 11-10 decision at the same tournament two years ago, Kiefer fell by a 15-13 score. Tripapina went on to take the tournament title for her first world cup podium.

The bronze is Kiefer’s fifth world cup medal, her first since a bronze last May at Tauberbischofsheim, Germany. She has claimed five medals in the past 12 months, highlighted by a grand prix gold two months ago in Torino, Italy.

2012 Olympian Nicole Ross finished 10th, ending her streak of three consecutive international medals.