By: Andrey Geva, Ann Marsh-Senic, and Igor Chirashnya

Who we are as a community must be reflected in the leadership that guides our sport. At the top of USA Fencing, the organization that governs the direction of both today and tomorrow, there has to be a grounded understanding of what it takes to raise a fencer. It’s what we’re about. With three at-large seats open, we need a holistic move towards better leadership, and we have the opportunity to get there if we elect three candidates for those critical positions. 

Who has the power to shape our sport? Who should have that power? A wide variety of voices are important, but decisions should be guided by people who have long-lasting, direct involvement in the sport. Without their input, there are far-reaching implications for the present and future of fencing. 

Three seats – three candidates

The direction of our present and future is at stake in the current board election. There are three at-large director positions open – a potentially game-changing block of votes in the leadership of USA Fencing. Only five positions on the board are chosen by the body of fencing, and it’s a golden moment that three of them are open at once. These positions are meant for people who have the most direct understanding of the sport.  We must take advantage of it!

The three of us – Andrey Geva, Ann Marsh-Senic, and Igor Chirashnya, all have the kind of direct experience with fencing that is necessary to right the ship. 

Why are we endorsing our rivals? Because we cannot do this alone. After many, many discussions between the three of us, we saw that we shared the kind of real world experience that is so important to all of us. We don’t agree on every single thing, and that’s important too – this is not politics, it’s authenticity. 

Running for the board requires a great deal of bandwidth. It takes time. It takes mental capacity. It takes resources. All three of us have a long-term investment in the sport, and running for the board is something that we are each doing out of a sense of service to the community. We’re not here to make a name for ourselves or to advance a personal agenda. Not one of the three of us “needs” to be on the board for any kind of personal reason. We all have fulfilling lives outside of this position. Running for the board is about service to the sport and to the fencers and fencing families who make it run. 

Fencers, parents and coaches are essential voices! We must give them a way to be heard. None of us wants to be a bystander anymore. We can’t. It’s not possible to do it alone, which is why all three of us, together, are a strong part of the solution. 

Similar missions, varied perspectives

Andrey Geva has been discussing these issues with people for a very long time. A former Olympic coach, he’s also a club owner and a fencing parent. That experience matters. We have to have voices of people who have been there as a fencing parent navigating what the sport looks like from the perspective of people who have walked through the system. 

His ideas about accessibility and increasing the possibilities for coaches and the expansion of training are exactly the kind of direction we need. Most importantly, he speaks from experience. 

Ann Marsh-Senic is a three time Olympian. That’s exactly the kind of experience that we want for our fencers, and here we have a board candidate who has done the work to get there! What better person to have on the leadership team than someone who has put in the diligence to get to the top?! It’s not just her view as an athlete, but also her understanding of fencing training that is so important here. 

She’s a longtime leader in the Renaissance Fencing Club in Michigan and has almost forty years in the sport, and the parent of two fencers. Her focus on lifting the voices of parents and her ideas about practical ways to get there are exactly what we need.

Igor Chirashnya is a club owner and parent of four fencers who has a broad reach thanks to his AFM blog and extensive writing about the sport of fencing. He brings a passionate voice for parents and coaches, as well as a history of corporate leadership that can help him push the gears of the organization.  

Real experience in fencing from all angles is needed for these board positions. The three of us have collectively interacted with thousands of fencers, parents, and hundreds of coaches over decades in the sport of fencing. This is not a monolithic sport, but rather a collection of people who have varied backgrounds and needs. This is why three experienced candidates must find their places on the governing board of fencing. 

Your vote is CRITICAL

You can learn more about all of the candidates through their fliers, videos, and in the debates, all of which are available online and are linked here. Learn for yourself and make an independent, informed decision about USFA Board of Directors candidates. 

The polls open on May 15th, and the sad truth is that history tells us that a large majority of people won’t vote, even if they have every opportunity to. In previous USFA board elections, only 25% of eligible voters have voted. You can change that! 

Being on the board means you’re exposing yourself for everything. It’s a huge undertaking and major responsibility. Being brutally honest with our values and with our vision is not easy, but for all three of us it’s necessary. 

We cannot sit back and watch this sport be pushed by the interests of those who are not invested in the experiences of the people who participate in it. Your vote for me, for Andrey, and for Ann helps to push the sport back towards fundamentally valuing parents, coaches, and most importantly fencers as this sport continues to move forward. 

Fencing needs your vote. 


Andrey, Ann, and Igor