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Olympian Ivan Lee Elected as Chair of USA Fencing Board of Directors

09/08/2023, 6:30pm CDT
By Bryan Wendell

The renowned Olympian, Vet fencer, coach and referee was elected to the role by his peers on the Board, becoming the 30th president or chair in the organization’s history.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Ivan Lee OLY has more titles than could fit on a wallet-size business card: NCAA champion, Olympian, USA Fencing Hall of Famer, five-time national champion, the USOPC's Male Athlete of the Year in 2001, Veteran national champion, trusted referee and NCAA head coach — to name just a few. 

And tonight at the USA Fencing Board Retreat in Denver, the man of many hats adds a new title to his resume: Chair of the USA Fencing Board of Directors.

In a vote of his peers on Friday night, Lee was elected to the Board’s top position, becoming the 30th president or chair of USA Fencing (and its previous names) in the organization’s history.

Lee’s off-the-strip achievements include being a graduate of both the USA Fencing Leadership Academy and the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee's FLAME program. He also brings leadership experience with the Rosalyn Yalow Charter School Board of Trustees and the New York City Department of Education.

Lee joins a select group of Olympians who have led the Board of Directors — most recently 1980 Olympian Stacey Johnson.

While Lee is new to the role of chair, he’s not new to the Board. In November 2022, he was named a vice chair on the Board alongside Selina Kaing. And then in June, he learned he’d move from an appointed position to an elected one, earning enough votes to join the Board as one of three At-Large Directors, together with Damien Lehfeldt and incumbent Abdel Salem OLY-Egypt.

Only At-Large Directors are eligible to be elected by their peers on the board to serve as chair. For this vote, that means these board members were eligible: David Arias, Peter Burchard, Lee, Lehfeldt and Salem.

While USA Fencing has had many presidents in its history as USA Fencing, the United States Fencing Association and the Amateur Fencers League of America, Lee becomes just the second chair in the organization’s history after Arias.

A 2021 bylaw change meant the title of "Chair" would replace that of “President.”

In case you’re curious about the long history of this role, the Museum of American Fencing has a list of all AFLA, USFA and USA Fencing presidents from 1891 to 2016.

Ivan Lee OLY at the Athens Olympics. (Photo by Serge Timacheff)

Friday’s Meeting: A Closer Look

Lee’s election was just one of the headlines on Friday. Also of note were these passed motions:

  • Motion 1: The Board approved the appointment of individuals to committees and resource groups for the 2023-24 season (seen in the appendix here).

  • Motion 2: The Board appointed Emily Bian, the current Deputy Treasurer, as USA Fencing Treasurer. (Read more about Emily below)

  • Motion 4: The Board named Briggs Kofford as Auditor for the 2023-24 season by recommendation from the Audit Committee.

  • Motions 5 and 6: The Board appointed/re-appointed three special Board members for the 2023-24 season: Donald Alperstein, Mike Joo and Selina Kaing (Read more about them here.)

  • Motion 7: The Board appointed three new U.S. Fencing Foundation trustees: Kurtis Fechtmeyer, Lilly Huang and Robin McGraw. (Read more about them here)

  • Motion 8: The Board named its Compensation and Review Group for the 2023-24 season: Ivan Lee OLY, Amanda Nguyen (Independent), Lauryn Deluca PLY (Athlete), David Arias (At-Large)* - Ex-Officio.

  • Motion 9: Voting-eligible Board members elected Ivan Lee OLY as Chair.

Meet Ivan Lee, Chair of USA Fencing Board

Ivan Lee OLY has been a member of USA Fencing for more than 30 years and has competed at every level of the sport — from his fencing beginnings at the Peter Westbrook Foundation to his time at St. John’s University (where he twice won the NCAA saber title) to earning a spot on six Senior World Championship teams. 

But top among Lee’s fencing career highlights is securing a spot on Team USA at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, where he finished 12th. After Lee’s senior career ended, he didn’t slow down. He continued to referee (and has been doing so for 25 years) and won two consecutive national titles in Vet-40 men’s saber. He still competes as a Veteran fencer today.

Meet Emily Bian, USA Fencing Treasurer

Emily Bian serves as the Treasurer of USA Fencing, a role she stepped into after approximately six months as Deputy Treasurer. 

During her deputy tenure, she actively participated in the Budget Committee and shadowed the then-current Treasurer, Samuel Cheris, gaining valuable insights into the organization's financial operations. 

A qualified CPA, Bian brings a strong financial background to her role, including four years of experience with Big 4 accounting firms and over a decade in corporate control. Her expertise in accounting and corporate finance positions her well to oversee the financial health and sustainability of USA Fencing.

Tag(s): Updates