Lee Kiefer Is 1st USA Athlete to Ever Win Olympic Fencing Gold in Individual Foil

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 25, 2021

Lee Kiefer of the United States celebrates winning the women's individual Foil final competition against Inna Deriglazova of the Russian Olympic Committee at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Sunday, July 25, 2021, in Chiba, Japan. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
AP Photo/Hassan Ammar

Lee Kiefer made history at the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo on Sunday, becoming the first American fencer to ever win Olympic gold in individual foil.

Team USA tweeted the news following Kiefer's landmark victory:

Team USA @TeamUSA

One for the history books.<a href="https://twitter.com/leetothekiefer?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@leetothekiefer</a> becomes the first U.S. woman to win Olympic gold in individual foil. <a href="https://twitter.com/USAFencing?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@USAFencing</a> x <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TokyoOlympics?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TokyoOlympics</a> <a href="https://t.co/XQIXlKq88F">pic.twitter.com/XQIXlKq88F</a>

Kiefer won a tightly contested battle to take gold, outlasting Inna Deriglazova of the Russian Olympic Committee 15-13 in the gold-medal match.

The 27-year-old Kiefer is a Cleveland native who is competing in her third Olympic Games. She failed to medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London (placed fifth) and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro (10th).

Kiefer entered the 2021 Olympics as a strong candidate to medal, however, after finishing second in women's individual foil at the FIE Grand Prix in Turin, Italy, in 2020 and finishing third in the event at the Fencing World Cup in Katowice, Poland, last year.

A four-time NCAA champion at Notre Dame, Kiefer finally broke through for Team USA after many close calls for the Americans over the years.

American men have won Olympic silver in the individual foil three times, with the most recent instance happening at the 2016 Summer Olympics when Alexander Massialas fell to Italy's Daniele Garozzo in the gold-medal match.

As for the American women, Kiefer is the first to win an Olympic medal of any kind in the individual foil event.

To take gold, Kiefer had to defeat one of the most prolific fencers in the world in Deriglazova.

Deriglazova is now a three-time Olympic medalist, taking silver in the team foil in 2012, gold in individual foil in 2016 and silver in individual foil this year.

She is also a three-time gold medalist in individual foil at the Fencing World Championships, and she won gold last year at the World Cup and this year at the Grand Prix in Doha, Qatar.

With Kiefer's triumph, Team USA has now won four gold medals at the 2021 Summer Olympics thus far.