A Future in Olympic Fencing– Stanley Chen


Stanley Chen is one sophomore you definitely don’t want to cross. After eight years of fencing he knows a thing or two about how to win a fight.

The Wasatch Fencing Club in Kaysville gave Chen his first exposure to the sport and now he spends up to eleven hours a day sharpening his skills. All those hours recently paid off as Chen qualified for, and participated in, the Junior Olympic competition in Oregon. Junior, and fellow fencer, Dallin Andersen explained what it takes to qualify for the Junior Olympics.

“For Junior Olympics you have multiple districts from America and they take the top three from every district and put them against each other to go for the best nationally and then those who win that go for international.”

Chen took first place while qualifying for the Junior Olympics and his success didn’t end there.

“I did really well in my last Junior Olympics. I took 81st in the cadets, which is the 17 and under and, 88th in the juniors, which is 19 and under, and considering I’m only 16 right now I think that was really good,” said Chen

While 81st and 88th may not sound all that impressive, it is when considered that Chen was up against 380 of America’s top junior fencers. Not to mention the pressure that accompanies such a large event.

“I definitely feel pressure, but not pressure from being nervous, because being confident is an important thing any athlete has to learn. But most of the time, I have a little pressure from fencing well or not. I try not to focus too much on winning because my coach has always told me to fence well, and the winning will come to me,” explained Chen.

While this year was a success, Chen and his coach Ron Hendricks look forward to further improvement in the years to come.

“While Stanley’s performance at the Junior Olympics was solid improvement over his last national tournament, we both understand that we still have a lot of work to do,” said Hendricks.

Fortunately hard work is not something Chen shy’s away from, but rather he seems to revel in it. That, combined with passion, has led Chen to the top of his game.

“When Stanley started fencing years ago, it was obvious he had a true passion for the sport. That passion combined with his dedication to practice has made him the top junior foil fencer in the state,” commented Hendricks.

Besides the Junior Olympics, Chen competes in several other smaller tournaments during the month, and a national event every one to three months. These competitions provide him with invaluable opportunities to grow as a fencer he wouldn’t get any other way.

“Competitions are the funnest things ever. Usually they’re held in different states and for several days you fence and meet lots and lots of fencers. And since the sport is really small you get to fence Olympic fencers all the time, and it’s really cool,” explained Chen.

One such Olympic Fencer Chen met was Miles Chamely-Watson—the first American to win gold in the world championships. Chamely-Watson is currently in training to compete in the 2016 Olympics to be held in Rio de Janeiro.

“Meeting Miles Chamely-Watson was an awesome experience and definitely pumped me up. All the Olympic fencers I’ve met have inspired me to do well, and meeting them is an awesome experience and I fangirled out just a tiny bit. But meeting him and seeing him wear the gold medal from the world championships definitely inspired me to go for the gold too,” said Chen.

Even as a sophomore, Chen has already had the inspiration he needs to set big plans for his future; he wants to compete in the NCAA. And that dream might not be too distant according to Hendricks. He said,

“He a bright kid with a lot of options in front of him. Fencing, combined with solid academics could lead to him fencing at the NCAA level. Who knows, maybe he will become the second Davis High School graduate to become a NCAA Division 1 All-American in fencing.”

The first Davis High School graduate to earn the All-American title was Ben Hendricks in 2007. But Chen’s dreams go miles beyond that.

“One of my big dreams is definitely to fence in the Olympics. And I honestly think I have a chance. If you just keep practicing, and Utah has great teachers I can practice with, I think anyone can make the Olympics if they just put in the hours,” said Chen.

The future looks bright for this young aspiring fencer, perhaps one day Davis High will watch their own Stanley Chen go for the gold.