USA Fencing
SportFencing
Category501(c)(3) non-profit
JurisdictionUnited States
FoundedApril 22, 1891; 130 years ago (April 22, 1891)
AffiliationFédération Internationale d'Escrime
Regional affiliationPan American Fencing Confederation
Headquarters210 USA Cycling Point
Colorado Springs, Colorado, US
PresidentPeter Burchard
CEOKris Ekeren (resigned 2021)[1][2]
Other key staff
Operating income$11.1 million[1]
Official website
www.usfencing.org
United States

The United States Fencing Association (USFA) is the national governing body for the sport of fencing in the United States.[3][4] The USFA was founded on April 22, 1891, as the Amateur Fencers League of America (AFLA) by a group of 20 New York City fencers seeking independence from the Amateur Athletic Union, in a dispute over rules for national championships.[5][6][4][7] The AFLA changed its name to the United States Fencing Association in 1981.[7]

History

The organization was founded on April 22, 1891, in New York City, initially as the Amateur Fencers League of America (AFLA).[5][7] Graeme Hammond was its first president, from 1891 to 1925.[8] It was incorporated as a non-profit corporation in Pennsylvania in 1964.[7] The organization changed its name to the United States Fencing Association in 1981.[7] It was incorporated in Colorado in 1993 in compliance with the Amateur Sports Act.[7] It opened its national office at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in 1982.[7] The national office moved from the Olympic Training Center to downtown Colorado Springs in 2002. The USFA's first full-time Executive Director was hired that year.[9] The USFA is affiliated with the Fédération Internationale d'Escrime (FIE), the international federation for fencing founded in Paris in 1913.[10]

Early years

Helene Mayer

Initially, officers of the Association were only White men, and the AFLA excluded women, Jews, Blacks, and others from membership.[11][12][6] In 1938 Helene Mayer won the fencing Association's San Francisco Division men's title; two days later she was stripped of the title, as the Association adopted a rule banning competition between women and men, reasoning both that fencing involved physical contact, and that "a chivalrous man found it difficult to do his worst when he faced a woman."[13][14]

21st century

Two-time Olympian Nzingha Prescod was elected as an athlete director on the USA Fencing Board of Directors beginning on January 1, 2021, as the top vote-getter in a vote by athletes who represented the US at the Olympics or Paralympics, Pan American Games, or Senior World Championships.[15] She said that in 2020 the organization's disciplinary decisions "reeked of lenience and favorability for the offender."[15]

In 2021, when fencer Alen Hadzic was permitted to go to the Tokyo Olympics after an arbitrator reduced his sanction of temporary suspension following an investigation prompted by rape and other sexual misconduct accusations against him, his Team USA teammates expressed concerns for their safety and well-being arising from his presence, according to USA Fencing.[16][17][18] USA Fencing therefore prohibited him from staying at his teammates' hotel.[17] Hadzic's lawyer said USA Fencing had known of the allegations made by the three women against Hadzic "for years," but until the Olympics had never put a restriction in place for Hadzic while he competed all over the world with USA Fencing teams.[18] He therefore sought to overturn the restriction in arbitration, without success.[16][17] Hadzic had previously been suspended by Columbia University for a year for sexual misconduct, as a result of the findings of a Title IX investigation of Hadzic's behavior.[18][17] By October 2021, a total of at least six sexual misconduct complaints, including rape, had been filed against Hadzic.[19]

During the Hadzic scandal, it was disclosed by the press that USA Fencing had received a sexual assault complaint about Hadzic by a fellow USA Fencing fencer in 2013, but not acted on it. The lawyer for the complainant had written to Ekeren in 2013: "How can the [United States Fencing Association], in good conscience, claim its hands are tied and permit the participation of a known rapist into its athletic midst?" However, Ekeren did not respond further to the lawyer, and the letters were not made public for eight years.[19] In the wake of that disclosure, the Executive Director/CEO (Kris Ekeren) and General Counsel (Jim Neale) of USA Fencing resigned in 2021.[2]

Member ratings

The USFA tracks ratings for its members. Ratings are a system of classification for USFA fencers; they are primarily used to seed tournaments, but are also considered to be (very) broad indicators of skill. When a fencer first joins the USFA, he or she will have a classification of "U", or "Unrated." There are six different ratings in the USFA those being U (the lowest rating), E, D, C, B, and A (the highest rating).[20] Fencers may increase their classification—from U to E, and then up to A—by placing in USFA-sanctioned tournaments. A tournament must have a certain number of competitors, and those competitors must maintain a certain ratio of classifications, for the top fencers to be eligible for ratings.[21]

Hall of Fame

The United States Fencing Hall of Fame (or "U.S. Fencing Association Hall of Fame") is a hall of fame for US fencers and coaches. It is located in the Museum of American Fencing in Shreveport, Louisiana.[22][23] The Museum of American Fencing is in Shreveport.[24] It was founded as the National Fencing Coaches Association Hall of Fame on February 15, 1963, and was in its early days located at Helms Sports Hall of Fame, founded in 1936 in Los Angeles, California. No one was inducted into the Fencing Hall of Fame during the years 1975–1994, due to physical moves and organizational changes, including its takeover by the Amateur Athletic Foundation.

Through June 2021, US fencers had won 8 Olympic medals, and 202 World Championships' Medals.[25]

Inductees

Main article: List of USFA Hall of Fame members

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "United States Fencing Association". Non Profit Data. August 27, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Davis, Bradford William. "After sexual assault allegations rocked US fencing's Olympic team, one executive said the scandal would 'blow over.' Instead, the sport's top officials are resigning". Business Insider.
  3. ^ Bellotto, Kimm; Kubesh, Katie; McNeil, Niki (2007). Fencing: Ancient to Modern. In the Hands of a Child. p. 11. GGKEY:U2C7EN90WGX.
  4. ^ a b Garret, Maxwell R.; Kaidanov, Emmanuil G.; Pezza, Gil A. (1994). Foil, Saber, and Épée Fencing: Skills, Safety, Operations, and Responsibilities. Penn State Press. ISBN 0271010193 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ a b Michelle Dunkley McCarthy, Peter Matthews (1992). The Guinness Book of Records, 1993
  6. ^ a b Kenneth T. Jackson, Lisa Keller, Nancy Flood (2010). The Encyclopedia of New York City, Second Edition, Yale University Press.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Jomantas, Nicole (April 22, 2021). "USA Fencing: Celebrating 130 Years of Fencing in America". USA Fencing.
  8. ^ Nick Evangelista (1995). The Encyclopedia of the Sword, Greenwood Press.
  9. ^ "Past Officers". USA Fencing.
  10. ^ "About USA Fencing". USA Fencing.
  11. ^ Andy Shaw (Fall 2005). "A Colorless "league" – Crossing the Color Barrier". American Fencing Magazine.
  12. ^ George B. Kirsch, Othello Harris, Claire Elaine Nolte (2000). Encyclopedia of Ethnicity and Sports in the United States, Greenwood Press.
  13. ^ Steven J. Overman, Kelly Boyer Sagert (2012). Icons of Women's Sport', Volume 1, Greenwood Press.
  14. ^ Eileen McDonagh, Laura Pappano (2007). Playing With the Boys; Why Separate is Not Equal in Sports, Oxford University Press.
  15. ^ a b King, Nelson A. (December 15, 2020). "Elite Fencer". Caribbean Life News.
  16. ^ a b "A Fencer Made It To The Olympics In Spite Of Multiple Accusations Of Sexual Assault. His Teammates Say The System Is Broken". BuzzFeed News.
  17. ^ a b c d Longman, Jeré (July 22, 2021). "U.S. Olympic Fencer, Accused of Sexual Misconduct, Kept Apart From Team; Alen Hadzic of New Jersey is an alternate on the U.S. fencing team but has not been allowed to stay in the Olympic Village". The New York Times.
  18. ^ a b c Josh Peter and Christine Brennan (July 22, 202). "US fencer accused of sexual misconduct unhappy with treatment at Tokyo Olympics". USA Today.
  19. ^ a b "USA Fencing Is Blocking A Top Athlete From A Competition After Sexual Assault Accusations. It Took Eight Years And Widespread Outcry". BuzzFeed News.
  20. ^ "Home". USA Fencing.
  21. ^ "Fencing Tournaments: USFA Event Classifications". askfred.net.
  22. ^ Chico, Beverly (2013). Hats and Headwear around the World: A Cultural Encyclopedia: A Cultural Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781610690638 – via Google Books.
  23. ^ "Two Fencers With Penn Ties Headed to Hall of Fame". University of Pennsylvania Athletics. May 8, 2013.
  24. ^ Johnson, Neil (January 26, 2017). "Fencing: an art, sport, history combo and romantic". The Shreveport Times.
  25. ^ "USA". The International Fencing Federation.