Sada Jacobson


2008 Beijing Women's Sabre


WS Team Bronze
2004 Athens Women's Sabre


Emily Jacobson USA 2004 Athens Women's Sabre  

Arkady Burdan

USA 2008 Beijing Coach
2004 Athens
1996 Atlanta
Nhi Lan Le USA 1996 Atlanta Women's Epee  
Yool Nam KOR 1980 Moscow Mens Foil  


Sada Jacobson

Sada followed her father, David Jacobson (US National Sabre Team 1974), to Nellya Fencers at age 14. Wihin five years she was making history in the new field of Women's Sabre Fencing.Maestro Arkady Burdan - at work

In 2004, Sada Jacobson took a leave of absence from Yale University and qualified for the U.S. Olympic team.
That year was the first in which women's individual sabre was contested at an Olympic Games. At the Olympics, Jacobson beat Miclin Faez 15-4, in the round of 16. She beat Leonore Perrus in the quarterfinals 15-11 to advance to the semifinals. She lost to Tan Xue 15-12 in the semis. On August 17th, she won the bronze medal by beating Catalina Gheorhitoaia 15-7. Since this contest preceded the gold medal bout, Sada became the first woman to win a Olympic medal in sabre.

At the 2008 Summer Olympics, Jacobson was named the top seed.
She beat Mailyn Gonzalez Pozo, 15-11, in the round of 32. In the round of 16, she trailed Ukrainian fencer Olga Kharlan 8-5, but came back to win 15-13. In the quarterfinals, she beat Elena Khomrova 15-11. Entering the semifinals, all three American fencers were still in the tournament. In the semifinals, Jacobson again trailed 8-5 at the break, but came back with 10 out of the final 13 touches in the bout, and defeated Sofiya Velikaya 15-11, assuring Jacobson of at least the silver medal. In the final, Jacobson lost to defending gold medalist, Mariel Zagunis, 15-8, and won the silver medal. The United States swept the event, with Zagunis winning the gold, Jacobson the silver, and Becca Ward the bronze. In the women's sabre team event, the US was heavily favored to win the team event. Sada teamed up with Zagunis and Ward to defeat the South African team in the quarterfinals, 45-8. In the Semifinals, they fenced the team from the Ukraine. The Ukranian side, seeded fifth in the tournament, defeated the favored US team 45-39 , denying them a gold medal, and placing them in the bronze medal bout against France. The USA team rebounded from their semifinal loss, by defeating the French team 45-38, so Jacobson had a Bronze medal to go with her individual Silver medal.

Other Career Highlights:

  • Outstanding Jewish Scholastic Athlete of the Year 2002 & 2005. (Marty Glickman Award)
  • Academic All-Ivy League for the spring of 2002.
  • U.S. Fencer of the Year. 2003
  • Jewish Sports Hall of Fame

Maestro Arkady Burdan

Maestro Arkady Burdan - at workMaestro Burdan, US Olympic Coach (Beijing 2008; Athens 2004), is one of the most highly qualified fencing coaches in the world. He has coached celebrated fencers for more than thirty years.

His early distinctions include the USSR Master of Sports and Honored Coach of the Ukrainian Republic. He was principal fencing coach of the Ukrainian Olympic Training Center. His students earned more than 40 gold medals in Soviet National Championships and in international competitions. In 1994, Maestro Burdan moved to Atlanta and founded Nellya Fencers. Since then, he has trained many successful fencers, including

The United States Fencing Association named Maestro Burdan Elite Coach of the Year (2002) and will induct him into its Hall of Fame (2009)


Emily Jacobson

Terrence LaskerWith her older sister, Sada , Emily Jacobson competed for the U.S. at the 2004 Olympics in the inaugural women's saber event in Athens -- a feat that she views as her greatest achievement in fencing at that point in time. She reached the Round of 16, where she lost to Leonore Perrus of France, 15-13.

Career Highlights:

Master Yool Nam

Maestro Yool Nam

The high-level fencing experience of Master Yool Nam now fuels the foil program at Nellya.

Coach Nam earned a place in the 1980 Olympic Games, representing South Korea in Moscow. His chance to compete was thwarted by the international boycott of the Moscow Games.

For five years, Yool was a member of the South Korean National Team (Foil)

Yool was a member of the 1978 Asian Games Champion Team, and he took 4th place in the individual.  In the same year he won the Presidents Cup of South Korea in both Foil & Sabre

After finishing his competitive career in 1981 Yool began to study coaching.

From 1984 to 2004 Yool held a coaching position for the Tokyo Fencing Association and later received his Fencing Master Certification from the Japanese Fencing Association. 

Throughout his coaching career Yool has coached members of the South Korean and Japanese National Teams. 

He now brings his thirty six years of experience to Nellya.

Nikita (Nhi Lan) Le


Nikita was born in Nha Trang, Vietnam but reached the pinnacle of her sport in her hometown of Atlanta.

Le finished third in the Division 1 tournament in 1995, after placing 12th in the same event two years earlier.

Le was 12th in the A section of the World Cup championship in Sweden that year. She has been a member of the national team since 1989.

A graduate of the University of North Carolina, Le works at a brokerage company in Atlanta. She speaks fluent Vietnamese, Chinese and French. In addition to epee fencing, Nikita is an accomplished golfer.

After trainining intensely with Maestro Burdan, Nikita represented the United States as a member of the US Women's Epee Team in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.