On January 20, 2017, the Millburn High School Boys and Girls Fencing Teams were treated to a very special evening featuring Mr. Jeff Bukantz. Jeff is a resident of Montville, NJ. The students were captivated when they were told that Jeff has his own twitter account and that he has tweeted from the Olympics as an NBC Sports Group fencing analyst for the 2016 Rio Olympics and the 2012 London Olympics.
Jeff has an impressive and extensive fencing background. He has been a fencing referee at the 1984 Olympics in LA, the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Captain of the USA Fencing Team at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Mr. Bukantz was the captain of the US Fencing Team and a former Olympic fencer and referee. As a younger fencer, Mr. Bukantz, ranked fifth or sixth in the United States, and he took after his legendary father, Daniel Bukantz, who competed in four Olympic games. Jeff competed at the Pan American games in 1987, where he won a bronze medal for the U.S. Team.
Jeff currently is the General Chairman of the 2017 Maccabiah USA Organization of the Maccabiah Games, one of the most well known non-profits existing today for athletes. He is building a strong USA Team of over 1,200 to participate in the 20th Maccabiah Games in Israel, to take place this July 2017. He has personally participated in these games from 1981- 1993. There he has won 13 medals, including three gold.
The Millburn teams were inspired by Jeff. On January 29, 2017, both the Millburn boys and the girls teams won first place in foil at the District Championships. The Boys Team qualified for the State Play-offs. Melissa Du, Jasmine Shen, Daniel Fu, and Zohaib Mannan also qualified for the State Individual Champions to be held on March 5th, 2017 at Montgomery High School.
Not only is Mr. Bukantz an all around international fencer, but he is also an author. Mr. Bukantz wrote a book – his memoirs – that reveals his thoughts on the “powerful force of family and the competitive human spirit.” The book is entitled, “Closing the Distance: Chasing a father’s Olympic Fencing Legacy.” Every Millburn fencer participant received a copy of his book, courtesy of Millburn Friends of Fencers Booster Association.