Congrats to local fencer, Gerek Meinhardt for just being ranked the #1 Men's Foil fencer in the world today. This is the first time an American has been so named. Pretty darned cool...the same year that his US Teammate, Miles Chamley Watson, becomes the first American to ever win the Gold at the World Championships and the US Men's foil Team (of which Garek and Miles are both members) also grabs the top spot. Congratulations also to Greg Massialas and Cole Harkness, Gerek's coaches at San Francisco's M-Team.
Gerek attended Lick-Wilmerding High School in San Francisco and became the youngest men's national foil champion when he won the tournament at the 2007 U.S. Fencing National Championships at age 16.He was named to the US Olympic team in 2008, the youngest fencer at the games, the youngest Men's fencer ever named to a US Olympic team. He's been cranking it ever since, though he severely injured his knee in 2010. He's since graduated from the University of Notre Dame (a fencing powerhouse, where he helped lead them to a NCAA championship) and is fencing his final year of eligibility there while pursuing his MBA at Notre Dame's Mendoza School of Business.
Its been a banner year for US Men's Foil fencing with Gerek's Team USA colleague, MIles Chamley-Watson, winning gold at the 2013 World Championships in Budapest (the first ever by an American). Gerek's bronze medal finish at last week's CIP World Cup event in Paris earned him the #1 ranking, for the men's individual event in Senior Men's Foil, 2011 Senior World Champion Andrea Cassara (ITA). Impressive, to me particularly, as this comes after Garek missed the 2011 season rehabilitating his knee after significant injury and 2012 was spent trying to recover as well.
I've had the chance to meet Garek and his a personable, kind and respectful individual with an impressive physical presence (he's a big guy). He is, as the Chinook would say, Skookum.