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Why Foil Fencer Gerek Meinhardt Had The Best 2019

By Karen Price | Dec. 27, 2019, 12:01 a.m. (ET)

Gerek Meinhardt reacts at the Pan American Games Lima 2019 on Aug. 6, 2019 in Lima, Peru.


Gerek Meinhardt’s name is synonymous with men's foil fencing in the United States, having represented the nation at the last three Olympic Games. 

Despite many years with many accomplishments, however, 2019 has been one of his best. With his sights set on a fourth Olympic Games in 2020 and at least one more medal to go along with the team bronze he won in 2016, Meinhardt’s timing is excellent. 

The men’s foil team is on a roll, for starters. It has made the podium in 13 consecutive world cups, and only recently suffered its first loss in nine months while still picking up a silver medal. 

Nestled within a six-competition winning streak was the team’s first-ever gold medal at the world championships. Meinhardt and the crew had finished as runners-up the past two years at the biggest competition outside the Olympic Games and finally emerged with the first men’s foil title for the U.S. with a sound 45-32 win against France. 

Individually, Meinhardt won his first world cup medal of 2019 just 11 days into the New Year, taking silver in Paris. A month later he won a bronze medal competing at the grand prix in Torino, Italy, and in June he won another bronze medal at the Pan American Championships in Toronto. 

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He finished the 2018-19 season ranked fifth in the world, his highest placement since he was No. 4 in 2013-14.

Then in Lima, Peru, Meinhardt won his first individual Pan American Games gold medal four years after winning silver in 2015. He won his first five matches and took a bye into the quarterfinals as the No. 1 seed and ultimately defeated Chile’s Gustavo Alarcon 15-11 in the final. 

That wasn’t his only gold medal there, either, as the team picked up the title for the second Games in a row. 

Meinhardt opened up this world cup season with an individual silver medal in Bonn, Germany, that included a win over reigning Olympic champion Daniele Garozzo of Italy in the quarterfinals. 

It all adds up to a year chock full of both individual and team accomplishments for Meinhardt, but if you ask him, he may just say the biggest and best thing that happened all year was marrying Lee Kiefer, a two-time Olympian on the U.S. women’s foil team. The first couple of American fencing tied the knot in September in Kiefer’s hometown of Lexington, Kentucky, after eight years together. 

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic and Paralympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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Gerek Meinhardt