USA Fencing Advances on Their Path to Cultural Transformation


Ease of Reporting Helps the Fencing Community Navigate a Changing Landscape

USA Fencing has enjoyed a long and respected history as the National Governing Body (NGB) for the sport of fencing in the United States. Dating back to 1891, USA Fencing focuses on growing and promoting fencing, honoring its traditions, and achieving excellence in competitions. But as with any sport, it hasn’t been without its challenges. When Phil Andrews joined USA Fencing as its CEO in 2022, he was ready to help the organization take them on.

Citing the difficulties presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, rising costs of participation and operation, and ethics and disciplinary matters, Andrews and USA Fencing recognized the need for a culture shift in the sport of fencing. With the implementation of RealResponse as one of their reporting mechanisms, USA Fencing is focusing on building an atmosphere of trust and belonging.

To address the often cost-prohibitive aspect and perception of “elitism”, USA Fencing has committed to expanding participation opportunities to fencers of all backgrounds. USA Fencing launched the Fencing the Gap initiative in 2022, which awards scholarships, mini-grants, and club incentives to both increase access and provide financial assistance to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) youth, youth girls, and youth with disabilities.

Along with their outreach programs, athlete council, and leadership programs that help ensure that a variety of voices are heard, USA Fencing employs a number of reporting methods for ethical and abuse issues, including the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and the U.S. Center for SafeSport for reports of sexual and other abuse. With the addition of RealReponse, anonymous and confidential reporting has gotten even simpler.

That’s one of the most important things we can do—make it easy to report, make it trusted to report, and then make sure that when those reports come in, they land with the right person.”

Phil Andrews, USA Fencing CEO