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Where Y'all Really From: 'Just loving the sport is enough'


The "Where Y'all Really From" team is closing their season with an interview of Olympian proportions. Fencers Gerek Meinhardt and Lee Kiefer are... pretty accomplished. Gerek is a four-time Olympian who took home team bronze medals in 2016 and 2021. And Lee is the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Champion, a three-time Olympian, and the most decorated women's foil fencer in U.S. history.

When they're not training for or competing in the most elite fencing tournaments in the world, they get plenty of rest. Just kidding! They're both in med school at the University of Kentucky.

"We were friends for a long time. The fencing world is pretty small," Gerek says. "We were on a lot of world championship teams together growing up." Gerek is from San Francisco. Lee grew up in Kentucky, and she says all the fencers from their two clubs were friends: "There's something about the casual San Francisco energy and maybe like the friendly, southern hospitality of Kentucky, that somehow works very well together."

It must work very well together; they got married in 2019.

"We share every single success and it just like, it's, it's additive for us. But if you see this practice, that is a different story," Lee says. "I don't like to lose! And I mean, I know Gerek's not very good. He's like number two in the world. I shouldn't be so hard on myself."

In this episode, they talk about their Olympic experiences, their philosophy on loving what you do, and the work ethic they inherited from their Asian parents--Lee's mom is from the Philippines and Gerek's mom is Chinese, born in Taiwan.

Listen to the episode:


Learn more about the show and subscribe for free at  whereyallreallyfrom.org.

That's a wrap for season one of "Where Y'all Really From," the first show to come out of the LPM podcast incubator! The team is planning for season two, so send them a message to let them know what you want to hear more about.

"Where Y'all Really From" is part of the Louisville Public Media Podcast Incubator. We get support from the Community Foundation of Louisville, Podchaser, Rankings.io and the Eye Care Institute's Butchertown Clinical Trials.

Laura is LPM's Director of Podcasts & Special Projects. Email Laura at lellis@lpm.org.

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