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U.S. Olympic Coach Dies In Accident After Return From Tokyo

coach buckie leach interview with onpoint fencing
(Image credit: screenshot from interview)

This year's Summer Olympics was a complicated sporting event, to say the least, and not only because it was delayed a full year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It's all over now, with the U.S. taking home a total of 113 medals. One of Team USA's 39 gold medals was earned by female fencing standout Lee Kiefer, the first American to win the gold in individual foil, which was a huge victory for all involved. Unfortunately, the celebration was cut tragically short for fencing coach Anthony "Buckie" Leach, who died over the weekend after having recently returned home from Tokyo.

As confirmed by his USA Fencing team on Instagram, Buckie Leach was taking part in a cross-country trip via motorcycle over the weekend, and was involved in a fatal accident on Saturday. It was obviously a major shock to friends and family, as well as to the many, many successful athletes that have enjoyed his tutelage over the years, and makes Lee Kiefer's success at the 2020 Summer Olympics all the more important, if also slightly bittersweet in retrospect.

The USA Fencing post seen below features quite a few photographs of Buckie Leach celebrating a variety of victories.

A photo posted by on

As noted in the post, Coach Buckie Leach celebrated his fifth Olympic Games in Tokyo, eight years after being inducted into the USA Fencing Hall of Fame. (He also coached for the women's foil team in 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2016.) That induction also came before he joined Notre Dame as an assistant coach in 2016, helping lead them to 12 individual medals at NCAA events, with team titles being secured in 2017, 2018, and 2021. Perhaps it's no surprise to learn that gold medalist Lee Kiefer was also part of the university's squad during that stretch.

Notre Dame shared a message following Leach's death, and followed that up with statements from head coach Gia Kvaratskhelia and the fencing team itself.

The Notre Dame Fencing Family is heartbroken over the tragic passing of Buckie Leach. We lift our prayers for his sister, Kathy, as we join her in celebrating his life.

Beyond giving praise for all of the competition accolades that Coach Buckie helped bring in, the fencing team also spoke to his strengths as a human being, saying:

But more important than all of these was how Buckie gave so richly and deeply of himself as a teacher, a coach, a leader and a person. Every day he was with us, his kindness, decency and humanity made us all better.

We here at CinemaBlend send our thoughts and condolences to the family and friends of Coach Buckie Leach during their time of mourning.

Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.