Gold medalist Lee Kiefer welcomed back to her old Kentucky home
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The Bluegrass Fencers’ Club welcomed home a newly crowned Olympic champion on Monday.
University of Kentucky medical school student Lee Kiefer made history in Tokyo when she won USA’s first-ever gold medal in individual fencing. Now, she’s officially back to her old Kentucky home.
“I’m so happy to be home and to share this with everyone, they’ve all been a huge part of our journey and it’s just like part of it is just being there with our family, our Bluegrass family,” Kiefer said.
Kiefer’s husband Gerek Meinhardt took home bronze in the men’s team foil. Both of them inspiring the next generation of fencers at Lexington’s own Bluegrass Fencers’ Club.
“After the quarter-finals, I got like two hours of sleep before the finals,” said 14-year-old fencer Antonio Wong.
Winning’s not new to Kiefer. She won more than 20 metals in junior and cadet world championships, as well as 4 NCAA titles. All while balancing a rigorous workload from UK medical school.
“It’s not graceful,” Kiefer said. “Everyone has seen me go crazy at the club multiple times, but you know that’s part of it like I have a great support system, and that’s the reason why we’re here and why we’re able to get through it.”
One of her biggest supporters is her coach Amgad Khazbeck.
“The best one I saw in all my life in fencing,” Khazbeck said. “Beautiful actions. All of the people, including the people that don’t understand fencing, enjoy watching how she fences.”
Now, coach and athlete are sharing this gold medal moment.
I’m just so proud that I could do this for coach,” Kiefer said. “Coach has always believed in me, and he’s always wanted this metal if not as much than more.”
Fencing runs in the Kiefer family. Lee’s father fenced in college, and all three of his children picked up the sport later.
Copyright 2021 WKYT. All rights reserved.