Itkin leads U.S. men's foil hopes

At just 21 years old, Nick Itkin competed as the youngest member of the United States fencing team at the Tokyo Olympics, where he helped the U.S. men's foil team take home bronze. Since then, Itkin has continued to win medals all over the world, and has risen to the No. 1 spot in the FIE men's foil world rankings.

In 2022, Itkin secured his first individual world championship medal, a bronze, then followed that up with individual silver at 2023 Worlds. 

The Notre Dame grad not only represents one of Team USA's best medal hopes in individual fencing competition at the Paris Olympics, but he could be the X-factor that leads the U.S. men's foil team to the first ever team fencing gold in any discipline in U.S. history at the Olympics.

Kiefer poised to repeat

Only two American women have ever won individual fencing gold at the Olympics: Mariel Zagunis and, in one of the highlight moments of the Tokyo Olympics, Lee Kiefer. At the Paris Olympics, Kiefer will attempt to match what Zagunis achieved in 2012 and successfully defend her gold medal at consecutive Games.

Kiefer is in prime position to do so, as the 29-year-old heads into 2024 as the FIE's top-ranked fencer in women's foil. Kiefer narrowly missed out on the final at both the 2022 and 2023 World Fencing Championships, earning bronze at both competitions.

As she did in Tokyo, in Paris she'll be competing alongside husband Gerek Meinhardt, who will join Itkin on the U.S. men's foil team.

Dershwitz takes sabre crown in Milan

Though still just 28, Eli Dershwitz has been a factor at the highest levels of men's sabre competition for more than a decade. But the lefty notched the biggest win of his career last year in Italy, winning individual men's sabre gold at the 2023 World Fencing Championships.

Things haven't quite gone Dershwitz's way at the Olympics so far, with the Harvard grad suffering a first-round exit at Rio 2016, then bowing out in the Round of 16 at the Tokyo Olympics despite being ranked in the top three in the world at the time. However, with world championship gold now under his belt, Dershwitz could be on his way toward a first trip to the Olympic podium in Paris.