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Three-Time Olympian Seth Kelsey Named Director of Sports Performance and Development

01/09/2013, 5:45pm CST
By Nicole Jomantas

Seth Kelsey, USA Fencing Director of Sports Performance and Development.

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – USA Fencing is pleased to announce that, following a nationwide search, three-time Olympian Seth Kelsey (Colorado Springs, Colo.) has been named as the director of sports performance and development.

In his new role, Kelsey will lead the department which administers and manages the servicing of national teams, grassroots development, coaching education and athlete pipeline planning.

“Seth is an excellent addition not only to our National Office staff, but he is a great resource to the USA Fencing community as a whole. I think he’s a perfect fit for our sport and a great person that we’re all looking forward to working with,” said USA Fencing CEO Val Belmonte (Colorado Springs, Colo.) “He’s part of a new generation of leader and I hope that he serves as a role model for any fencers who have aspirations of working in sports administration down the road.”

Kelsey, who joined the National Office staff on Wednesday, also officially retired from a career in which he became one of Team USA’s most decorated fencers. A former resident of the U.S. Olympic Training Center, Kelsey placed fourth at the London Olympic Games and anchored the U.S. Men’s Epee Team to a gold medal finish at the World Championships in April – the first ever gold medal win for a senior U.S. Men’s Fencing Team from any weapon at the Senior World level. In addition, Kelsey also won a silver medal as a member of the 2010 Senior World Team and placed seventh as an individual that same year.  

“With Val being hired as the new CEO last fall, I’m excited about the direction the organization is heading in. I wanted to be a part of the positive changes that are taking place and help USA Fencing become the best fencing nation in the world,” Kelsey said.

Although he is best known in the USA Fencing community for his athletic achievements, Kelsey attributes many of his leadership skills to those learned during his nine-year tenure in the U.S. Air Force.

A graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy with a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science, Kelsey served as in the Air Force for nine years and earned the rank of captain in 2007. During his tenure, Kelsey supervised a staff of 22 personnel. Kelsey also created the first services flight in the Reserve space wing where he led the hiring of all personnel, developed training plans and created every program from scratch.

“I worked with Seth for four and a half years and he was always great. He was full of ideas and made everything a collaborative effort. He’s very team driven and the folks who reported to him said he always made the extra effort to find ways work well with everyone,” said Kelsey’s former supervisor, Lt. Col. Cynthia Marcello.

Kelsey said that his experience of military leadership and past fencing success will both be advantageous to his new position.

“The military taught me how to execute and deliver on set objectives while my fencing background has given me great knowledge about how to prepare, plan and become a high level athlete,” Kelsey said. “We have a great pool of talent across the weapons and I’ve watched our teams have come a long way during the past decade. It’s going to take hard work at every level from the office and the athletes to coaches and club leaders, but I believe the United States can become the dominant country in the world for each weapon and I’m looking forward to working with our USA Fencing family to make that happen.”



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