Yury Gelman is entering his 22nd season at the helm of the Red Storm fencing teams. Over the last decade, Gelman has built a legacy as one of the top fencing coaches in the world, with success in both the United States and abroad. His collegiate teams consistently finish among the nation's elite and many of his athletes have collected world championship titles and Olympic medals. During Gelman's time at St. John's, his Red Storm has captured a national title (2001), has had over 100 All-Americans, and has won 22 individual NCAA Championships - more than any other school during that period.
On July 10, 2010, Gelman's great success in the sport was recognized when he was inducted into the United States Fencing Hall of Fame. As a professional coach for over 25 years, Gelman brings a vast knowledge of fencing, as well as the necessary experience at the upper echelon of international competition to his student-athletes.
A five-time U.S. Olympic Coach (2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016), Gelman guided St. John's alum Daryl Homer to the silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics in men's indivudal saber. Homer became the first Red Storm alum since Keeth Smart to earn an Olympic medal and just the fourth American male to claim an Olympic medal in men's indivudal saber. Gelman also coached alum Dagmara Wozniak to a bronze medal in women's team saber just three days after Homer took the silver medal. In the bronze medal match against Italy, Wozniak went 15-5 and won all three of her bouts.
Gelman led Homer and Wozniak in the Olympics at the London Games in 2012. Homer finished in sixth place in men's individual saber, while Wozniak finished eighth in women's individual saber. To reach the quarterfinals, Homer upended Alexey Yakimenko (Russia), who was ranked No. 2 in the World at the time. Wozniak also pulled off an upset to reach the quarterfinals, defeating the No. 7 ranked women's saber fencer. Wozniak's quarterfinals bout aired live on MSNBC.
Gelman also led Homer and the U.S. men's saber squad to an eighth place finish in the team event.
At the 2008 Summer Olympics, Gelman led the men's saber team to its best-ever finish and its first medal since 1984. The squad, which consisted of alumnus Keeth Smart, Tim Morehouse, James Williams, and Jason Rogers, captured the silver medal after defeating Hungary and Russia to advance to the gold medal match. The entire sabre team trained out of Gelman's Manhattan Fencing Center.
Gelman was present when Mayor Bloomberg honored New York's Olympic athletes two weeks after the Games were officially over. Ten New Yorkers and five coaches were presented with Tiffany's crystal apples, which represented the United States and New York City at the Summer Olympics in Beijing. Gelman and the 2008 U.S. Olympic teams that competed in Beijing, China also met President George W. Bush at the White House to celebrate the teams' performances.
In addition, Gelman and St. John's University were honored with the U.S. Olympic Achievement Award in April of 2011 by the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC), the U.S. National Governing Bodies for Sport (NGBs), and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA). The three organizations joined together to create the award, which recognizes the colleges and universities whose student-athletes and coaches have won Olympic medals.
Gelman also coached the United States men's saber team during the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. The squad, which consisted of Smart as well as fellow St. John's alumnus Ivan Lee, was guided to a fourth place finish by Gelman.
Gelman was the first coach for Lee, a two-time NCAA Champion, a gold and silver medal winner at the Junior World Championships, and a bronze medal winner at the Cadet World Championships. Lee was once ranked among the top 20 fencers in the world.
Smart, who was a two-time NCAA Champion and the first American to gain fencing's number one international ranking for males, was also on Gelman's 2000 U.S. Olympic team in Sydney, Australia. He was joined by former teammate, Arlene Stevens, a four-time All-American at St. John's.
Stevens, Smart and Lee were all members of Gelman's 2001 National Championship team, which featured a total of four former United States Olympians and seven individuals who won NCAA titles during their careers. During that season, the men's and women's teams posted records of 13-2 during the regular season, and went on to claim the Intercollegiate Fencing Association Championship and the NCAA Championship - St. John's University's second-ever NCAA title.
Under Gelman's leadership, St. John's has not finished lower than sixth place in the nation. In addition to its national title in 2001, the team has collected five second-place finishes at the NCAA Championships (1995, 2000, 2002, 2007, 2010).
In 2011, the Red Storm finished third as a team at the NCAAs and collected two more individual national championships. Marat Israelian and Daryl Homer, who won their first individual championships in 2010, repeated as men's epee and men's saber champions, respectively.
In 2012, St. John's picked up its 20th individual National Championship as Evgeniya Kirpicheva won the women's foil crown. As a team, St. John's placed fourth, which is the 20th-straight season it has placed sixth or better.
During the 2013 season, St. John's finished fifth at the NCAAs, while seven Red Storm fencers earned All-American honors.
In 2014, the Red Storm finished third as a team to record its highest finish since 2011. St. John's crowned its 21st individual National Champion as Yevgeniy Karyuchenko won the men's epee title.
In 2015, Gelman helped St. John's secure its 22nd individual National Champion as Isis Washington won the women's epee title. The Red Storm finished sixth to extend its streak of finishing sixth or better at the NCAA Championships to 23 years.
In 2016, St. John's finished fourth at the NCAAs, while eight Red Storm fencers earned All-American honors.
Gelman's coaching experience began at the Kiev Physical Education College, where he was coach from 1977-91. Gelman also served as coach of the Ukrainian Fencing Team from 1987-91.
Gelman is a 1977 graduate of Kiev Physical Education College, where he earned a degree in physical education and coaching of fencing. Gelman also earned his master's degree in physical education in 1981 from Kiev.
In September 2007, Gelman opened the Manhattan Fencing Center. The club includes elite fencers from the greater New York Area and serves as an Olympic training facility as well.