Medical Olympians


Taylor Harp
Member, ACP Council of Student Members

Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine



Ashley Fellers
Member, ACP Council of Student Members

University of South Carolina School of Medicine


Most people would consider medical school a full-time job, but these students had another goal to check off their bucket list. This year in the Tokyo Olympics, medical students competed in a variety of sports. Here at ACP, we have had a great time cheering them on!

First up, we have Lee Kiefer from the University of Kentucky School of Medicine. She became the first U.S. man or woman to win a gold medal in individual foil this summer. She competed alongside her husband, Gerek Meinhardt, who is also a medical student at the University of Kentucky. Their supportive relationship and teamwork are inspiring both in the hospital and out on the field. Kelley Hurler is another Olympic fencer who will be pursuing medicine this upcoming year after competing in Tokyo (and three other Olympic games!). She will be attending the St. James School of Medicine this fall. Who knew that fencing and medicine were such a popular combination?

Next, we watched Erica Ogwumike, who is currently between her M1 and M2 year at UT Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. She spent her summer break competing for the Nigerian national basketball team. Even in Japan, she said she has been spending time doing her Anki. We love her dedication to preserving that streak!

We also spent some time watching Stanford medical student Veronica Toro Arana, Puerto Rico's first woman rower to compete at the Olympics. She dreams of becoming a pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon and balances training and rotations by starting her day at 4:00 a.m. Although the days sound long, we hope her story inspires more women to continue participating in the sports they love while also attending medical school in the years to come.

Lastly, we watched Andi Murez from Los Angeles compete as Israel's fastest female freestyle swimmer. Since moving to Israel in 2014, Murez has been studying at Tel Aviv University's School of Medicine, as well as training for the Olympic team. She says that working toward the Olympics helps provide balance, even if both medical school and the Olympics are very intense.

Although we think studying may still be a full-time job, we hope some of these stories inspire you to get out there and try a new sport. Exercise can help boost energy levels, concentration, and motivation for this upcoming academic year. Maybe we'll try synchronized swimming, fencing, or hurdles. Keep an eye out for more medical competitors in 2024!


Boren C. An American medical student from a fencing family wins a historic gold medal. The Washington Post. 25 July 2021. Accessed at on 15 August 2021.

Woike D. From medical school to the Olympics: Erica Ogwumike is making it a summer to remember. Los Angeles Times. 27 July 2021. Accessed at on 15 August 2021.

Reiner O. How a Stanford med student became Puerto Rico's first female rower in Tokyo Olympics. USA Today. 22 July 2021. Accessed at on 15 August 2021.

Gerek Meinhardt: Olympic fencer and medical student. Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. 14 January 2021. Accessed on 15 August 2021.

Bartholomew R. Med school can wait. Texas's Hurley sisters still have medals to win. Texas Monthly. 20 July 2021. Accessed at on 15 August 2021.

Spiro A. Israel's fastest female freestyle swimmer is a medical student from Los Angeles. The Times of Israel. 22 July 2021. Accessed at on 15 August 2021.

Back to the November 2021 issue of ACP IMpact