Katie Ledecky was the talk of day two, and brought home the Cardinal’s first gold medal of the Olympics in the 400m freestyle. In the preliminary heat, Ledecky was clearly taking it easy. But taking it easy for Ledecky meant that she would still set an Olympic record, and come within 0.34 of the world record (of course, the world record was also set by Ledecky).
In the finals, however, Ledecky went all out and smashed her own world record by about two seconds to win the gold medal, finishing nearly five seconds ahead of second-place Jazmin Carlin.
Stanford also earned a silver medal by the foil of fencer Alexander Massialas, who ended a 32-year drought during which the USA had not earned any medals in fencing. He was also the first American in 56 years to win a medal in foil.
Massialas’ most dramatic round of fencing was in the quarter-finals, when he found himself in a 14-8 deficit to Giorgio Avola of Italy. Against all odds, Massialas rallied back to win the match 15-14.
In the semi-finals, he rolled past Richard Kruse of Great Britain 15-9 to guarantee Team USA a medal and an end to its fencing drought.
In the gold medal round, he nearly staged another unexpected comeback as he dropped early 14-7 to Italy’s Daniele Garozzo. He rallied back to 14-11 before Garozzo got the winning touch and ended the match, 15-11.
With Ledecky and Massialas’ medals, Stanford now has medals in four events. If Stanford were a country, it would be ranked eighth place in the medal count, only behind: the US (12), China (8), Italy (7), Japan (7), Australia (6), Russia (5), and South Korea (5).