Alen Hadzic and epee coach Pavel Kutelvas, at Lilov Fencing Academy. (COURTESY LILOV FENCING ACADEMY)

By TALIA WIENER
wiener@montclairlocal.news

Montclair High School graduate and U.S. Olympic men’s fencing team member Alen Hadzic was temporarily suspended from competition June 2 by the U.S. Center for SafeSport pending allegations of misconduct.

He is disqualified from participating in the Tokyo Summer Olympics unless the suspension is overturned, according to SafeSport code. 

Preliminary arbitration at the Center for SafeSport will take place in the next seven to ten days, Hadzic’s lawyer, Russell Prince with Palma & Prince, said Tuesday. Palma & Prince, based in Florida, specializes in sports-related arbitration and litigation.




A ruling from SafeSport typically comes down within 24 to 48 hours after the interim measure arbitration, Prince said. There is no further option at the U.S. Center for SafeSport to appeal the interim measure decision, he said.

“Hadzic is fully cooperating with the U.S. Center for SafeSport,” Prince said. “We feel like we’ll get a fair outcome.”

A SafeSport online listing indicating the suspension doesn’t describe the nature of the allegations of misconduct. Price said he couldn’t speak about the allegations.

Hadzic declined an interview. 

The U.S. Center for SafeSport, created in 2017, is federally authorized under the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017, according to its website. The Center is entrusted “as the exclusive authority to respond to reports of allegations of sexual abuse and sexual misconduct within the United States Olympic and Paralympic Commitee and their recognized National Governing Bodies,” the website says.  It also develops resources and policies to safeguard athletes from bullying, harassment, hazing, physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and sexual misconduct, according to the site.

Hadzic qualified as the replacement athlete for the 2021 men’s epee Olympic team when he placed first in the men’s epee competition at the North American Cup in May. As a replacement athlete, Hadzic trains with the team and travels to the Olympics — but he would not compete unless a competing team member suffers an injury or is unable to compete for another reason. The men’s individual and team epee events are scheduled for the final week of July.

During his freshman year at MHS, Hadzic was introduced to fencing by a friend, he told Montclair Local in 2018. He became a two-time state champion and a three-time regional champion, was captain of the team by his junior year and made the U.S. Junior World team by his senior year. 

Hadzic attended Columbia University, where he competed on the school’s fencing team and graduated in 2015, according to his LinkedIn page.

Hadzic is also co-founder of Take the Lead, Inc. which according to its LinkedIn page serves the pharmaceutical industry by “focusing on patient enrollment solutions for clinical studies.”

An earlier version of this post incorrectly described Hadzic as a member of the New York Athletic Club.