Standing at 6’4”, Cody embodies the stature of an elite fencer. As his skills improved, he became more focused and knew that fencing’s objective-based rules would allow him to continue training, regardless of where life took him. “I wanted to get better, which was kind of my M.O. (modus operandi). I wanted to improve at something, figure it out and put in the extra time. That's what I love about fencing. You adjust and you grow as fast as you're able to innovate,” Cody explained.
His Olympic journey was not without challenges. Along the way, a bicycle accident combined with years of grueling training and travel to qualify for the Games tested Cody’s determination.
When attempting to qualify in 2004, Cody hadn’t earned the points needed to make his Olympic berth until the last qualifying event before the Games. "I didn't believe it. It honestly didn't soak in. I was on the plane going to Athens. I was at the Parthenon. I knew I was in Greece for the Olympics, and I still didn’t believe it,” Cody said. “I didn't really see it until I came home and stepped off the plane. I'm like, okay, now I've done it, I'm an Olympian, I competed in the Olympic Games.”
After retiring from competitive fencing, Cody found a new sense of purpose in being an advocate for athletes' rights. He served on the Team USA Athletes’ Commission for over 12 years, where he championed the importance of athlete representation. “There needs to be a voice for athletes and there needs to be balance,” Cody said. "How can any sports organization benefit athletes without the voices of athletes? Athletes must feel that they have a safe place to bring forward their concerns, questions, things they are liking and also safely share what sporting governing bodies are lacking."
In 2021, Cody learned about the LA28 Olympic and Paralympic Fellowship program, a new and unique opportunity to contribute to the Games and support athletes’ voices. During his first six-month rotation with the Technology team, he worked on email and data platform migration, all while sharing his unique perspective as an Olympic athlete to his work at LA28.
“Cody has been a breath of fresh air,” said his manager, Senior Technology Director Lauren Stern. “He is never afraid to ask why, challenge norms or dive deeper into any topic. He is both a quick learner and excellent coach and educator, making him a crucial part of our agile and ever-changing Tech team.”
The Athlete Fellow program has evolved drastically since the first cohort was welcomed more than two years ago. Cody, as the first, but not the last, full-time hire to come out of the program, is proud of how it has evolved. Athlete Fellow Alumni like himself help guide new ones, leading to smoother transitions and accelerated learning curves for athletes transitioning into careers, often for the first time.
Looking ahead, Cody envisions himself contributing to the LA28 Technology Team through 2028 and, hopefully, one day applying the lessons learned and innovations made at LA28 to future Olympic & Paralympic Games.