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Two to Tokyo

Jul 15, 2021

FOR THE SECOND consecutive Olympic Games, Stanford fencing will be represented by alums Vivian Kong '16 and Alexander Massialas '16. 

But the difference between Tokyo 2020 and Rio 2016 is that Kong and Massialas as so much more accomplished and both are medal contenders. 

Kong, in her second Olympics, competes for Hong Kong in the women's epee and team epee competitions. Massialas, in his third Olympics, competes for the U.S. in the men's individual foil and team foil competitions. 

Massialas in 2016 became the first U.S. man to win two fencing medals in the same Olympic Games in more than a century, capturing silver as an individual and was part of a four-man foil team that won bronze and also won the 2019 world title together.

The San Francisco native earned his first Olympic berth in 2012 at age 18, making him the youngest male athlete on the U.S. Olympic team. He's since gone on to medal-winning performances at both the Olympic Games and world championships, as well as a standout career at Stanford, where he won two NCAA individual titles.

In 2013, Massialas anchored the U.S. squad to its first medal at the World Championships, a silver. Since then, the team has won two more world silver medals, plus a historic gold medal in 2019 — the first for the U.S. men's foil team. Massialas also claimed an individual world silver medal in 2015.

In Rio, Massialas reached the individual foil final and became the first U.S. man to win an individual foil medal since 1960. Then he joined with Gerek Meinhardt, Miles Chamley-Watson and Race Imboden to win the bronze, Team USA's first in men's team foil since 1932. The combined feats made Massialas the first U.S. men's fencer to win two medals at an Olympic Games since 1904.

Vivian Kong, in action for Stanford in 2014. Photo by Shirley Pefley/Stanford Athletics.

Kong, a lefthander, was honored as the best women's epee fencer in the world for 2019 by the FIE Congress.

Kong was the only fencer in her weapon to win multiple World Cup or Grand Prix titles during the 2018-19 international season, taking first at the Havana and Barcelona events. She captured bronze in the World Championships in Budapest, becoming the first from Hong Kong to medal.

Kong is coached by Romanian legend Octavian Petru Zidaru. She finished 11th in Rio by becoming the first Hong Kong fencer to win a bout in the Olympic Games. 

Kong, 27, is ranked No. 7 in the world in her weapon. Nicknamed the "Queen of Swords," Kong was a black belt in taekwondo and a dancer when she was young. She tried fencing at the suggestion of her father and immediately took to it. 

"Fencing is like the ballet of sports," she said. "It is very elegant and I really, really liked it."

Massialas, 27, is ranked No. 5 in the world in his weapon. He began fencing at his father's club in San Francisco at age 7, and continues to be coached by Greg Massialas, the U.S. national team fencing coach. 
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Here are Stanford's Tokyo track and field Olympians, with their graduating classes:

Vivian Kong '16 (Hong Kong, women's individual epee, women's team epee)
Alexander Massialas '16 (U.S., men's individual foil, men's team foil)
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Stanford's individual schedule (all times Pacific):

July 23:
5 p.m.-12:20 a.m.: Women's individual epee early rounds (Vivian Kong).

July 24:
2 a.m.-6:10 a.m.: Women's individual epee medal rounds (Vivian Kong).

July 25:
5 p.m.-12:20 a.m.: Men's individual foil early rounds (Alexander Massialas).

July 26:
2 a.m.-6:10 a.m.: Men's individual foil medal rounds (Alexander Massialas).
7:25 p.m.-12:20 a.m.: Women's team epee early rounds (Vivian Kong).

July 27:
2:30 a.m.-4:40 a.m.: Women's team epee medal rounds (Vivian Kong).

July 31:
5 p.m.-midnight: Men's team foil early rounds (Alexander Massialas).

Aug. 1:
2:30 a.m.-5:20 a.m.: Men's team foil medal rounds (Alexander Massialas).