Sandy Fong '13
New York City
They don’t come much more focused than Sandra Fong. The Manhattan native, who competed on the U.S rifle team in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, can hit the head of a president on a dime from 50 meters away.
“It’s a huge mental game,” she says. “It takes an extreme amount of focus, and the smallest amount of movement on your part will have an extreme effect down the range.”
Fong uses a smallbore, 22-calibre rifle to shoot at a fixed target in three positions: prone, standing and kneeling. She is currently training to qualify for the 2012 Olympics and is obviously very good under pressure.
She comes from a family of markswomen. Fong edged out her sister, Abigail, a 2010 Princeton alumna, in the 2008 Olympic team trials, and both of them are now hoping to nab one of the two spots on the U.S team for 2012. The younger Fong sister, Danielle, who has cerebral palsy, competed in two rifle events at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing and is ranked 6th in the world. She is currently a student at Barnard College.
Competitive shooting in the Fong family began as a hobby. Their father, a physician, learned to shoot as a ROTC cadet, but hadn’t shot for 25 years until he began working with his daughters, first as a teacher and later as a coach.
The sisters’ athletic skills do not end with shooting. All three are also accomplished swimmers and track and field participants. “We’re very competitive, my sisters and I,” Fong says. “But when Abby and I are not on the range, we’re sisters first of all. My dream would be to have her competing with me on the Olympic team.”
Fong is also an exceptional student. In her sophomore year, she was accepted to medical school for a unique Humanities in Medicine program at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. She says her academic interests straddle medicine, journalism, film and anthropology. One of her favorite courses has been a radio journalism class with visiting lecturer Dan Grech ’99, a Miami-based reporter for NPR’s “Marketplace.” At the end of the course, students were required to make a two-hour radio show integrating their reporting, production and pitching talent.
Fong says there is no shortage of activities to engage in at Princeton. In addition to managing the swim team, she plays the trumpet and piano, has performed and sung in two Princeton theater productions, shoots video, and writes for The Daily Princetonian and the university radio station.
Her advice to anyone who comes to Princeton is to stay open to the possibilities. “Be willing to try new things with an open mind, because there’s so much to do. Dance, take that class in opera. You can come in with a plan, but you need to be willing to take side roads, because Princeton has so much to offer.”