|Born:||April 15, 1990|
New York, NY
|Hometown:||New York, NY|
|Residence:||New York, NY|
|Event(s):||50m rifle 3 position|
One to go
Sandra Fong was not the best shooter at U.S. Trials for 50m smallbore rifle three position -- not by a long shot. But while Jamie Beyerle won her Olympic spot by more than 30 points, Fong was just as dominant to earn the second American Olympic quota in the event. After Day 1 of the May Trials, Fong was actually in a tight race for second with her sister Abagail and Amanda Furrer of Spokane, Wash. Sandra actually trailed her older sister by 0.4 by day's end and held a small 4.2 lead on Furrer for third place (Beyerle had a 13.9-point lead after the first day and never looked back). Day 2, however, is where the Princeton-bound Sandra took off. With no round less than a 95, with three scores of 99 (out of 100) and a final round of 96.6, Sandra posted the best Day 2 score of the day with 683.6. Sandra clinched her Olympic bid with a 678.0 to beat Furrer by 10.7. "It's definitely one of the best feelings I've ever had," Fong said of making the U.S. team. "I've been working for this for so long. ... I had never been under so much pressure. You just learn to discard it."
Sisters to Beijing
While Abigail barely missed out on her chance to go to the Olympics, Danielle Fong, the youngest of the three sisters, also earned a trip to Beijing for the Paralympics to be held in Beijing in September. Born with cerebral palsy, Danielle has competed with both of her older sisters at the Empire State Games in rifle shooting. Danielle will be the only American participating in the shooting event, and the entire Fong family will be in Beijing for the duration of both Olympic competitions. "It's hard to put into words," Sandra said about being an Olympian with Danielle. "Danielle is my hero to excel above others the way she does. It's going to be a great feeling to be there," in Beijing with a common purpose.
Making a splash at the range
Fong grew up as a swimmer -- she competed in high school and still uses the sport as a part of her training. She and her sisters competed in the Empire State Games and went to numerous camps. They only began shooting because their father Dr. Yuman Fong, a rifle shooter in high school after he moved to the U.S. from Hong Kong, missed the feeling of competition that his daughters had at the Empire State Games and retook up the sport. Following his own successes, he began taking all three daughters to the range to be an involved parent and to also impart the life lessons that shooting has to offer to his girls. "It's not the sport everyone talks about," Sandra said. "But shooting produces the most genuine and respectful athletes. It's such a strong consideration we have for one another. It's a respect for the sport that we do."
An early Olympic moment
"Dara Torres is kind of a family favorite," Sandra said.
In 2000, when Sandra was 10 and Danielle was 8, the girls were at a Stanford swim camp. At that particular camp was Torres, a then-three-time Olympian who had retired after the Barcelona Games. That year, she was in the midst of a comeback and preparing for the Sydney Games. While serving as a motivational speaker at the camp where Fong sisters were, Torres competed at the Santa Clara Invitational. Not only did she win the 50m freestyle race, but Torres also set the American record for the event with a time of 24.73. Torres returned to the camp and met up with Danielle, who was the youngest person at the camp. As a means of encouragement, Torres gave Danielle her Santa Clara gold medal. After hanging in Danielle and Sandra's room for eight years, such encouragement has seemed to pay off tenfold.
This year, both Sandra and Danielle have a chance to be at the same Olympic Games as Torres if she can win an Olympic spot at the U.S. Trials in July.
Ready for the big leagues
Winning in rifle competitions is nothing new to Fong; she was the smallbore champion at the Junior Olympic Rifle Championships and was a two-time silver medalist at the USAS National Championships (2007: rifle three position; 2006: air rifle).
Off to Princeton
Following the Beijing Games, Fong will go to Princeton University as a pre-med student. She will officially be a theater major as there is no such thing as a pre-med major; Sandra directed, acted and wrote plays in high school. She hasn't decided what type of medicine she will go into, but she did hint that she was looking at surgery or something in public policy.
All Olympic merchandise is marked down. Act now, because when it's gone…it's gone!