Current and former Irish athletes compete in the 2016 Olympics
Observer Sports Staff | Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Five former-Irish athletes won medals and Mariel Zagunis tied a Notre Dame record at the 2016 Summer Olympics, which wrapped up in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday night.
Ten total former and current Notre Dame athletes participated in the games as well as two who served as coaches. Here is how the 12 Notre Dame representatives fared in Rio de Janeiro.
Natalie Achonwa — Women’s Basketball
The former Irish women’s basketball standout and current center for the Indiana Fever competed with Canada’s women’s basketball team. Canada made the quarterfinals of the tournament before losing to France, 68-63. Achonwa tallied six points in Canada’s 81-51 loss to the United States in group play.
Margaret Bamgbose — Women’s Track and Field
Bamgbose, a 2016 graduate of Notre Dame, competed for Nigeria in the 2016 Olympic Games. Bamgbose took part in the women’s 400-meter dash and qualified for the semifinal heat, where she finished seventh with a time of 51.92 seconds. Bamgbose placed fourth in the nation at the 2016 NCAA championships in her final race for Notre Dame.
Molly Huddle — Women’s Track and Field
Huddle had a strong start to her Olympic season, winning both the 5,000-meters and the 10,000-meters at the U.S. Olympic team trials in Eugene, Oregon. In Rio de Janeiro, Huddle broke an American record in the 10,000-meters while finishing sixth overall with a time of 30:13.17.
Courtney Hurley — Women’s Fencing (epee)
Hurley won a bronze medal in the women’s team epee in London four years ago, but she came up short in Rio, losing in the round of 32 of the individual competition. In the team epee, Hurley and the United States defeated South Korea for fifth place overall.
Kelley Hurley — Women’s Fencing (epee)
Like her sister, Kelley Hurley won a bronze medal in the London games. Competing in her third consecutive Olympics with the United States, she was also defeated in the round of 32 in the individual epee competition and, with her sister and her country, placed fifth in the team event.
Lee Kiefer — Women’s Fencing (foil)
Kiefer was the only current student-athlete from Notre Dame who competed in the Rio games. Kiefer is a three-time NCAA champion and did not fence for the Irish this past season in order to concentrate on her Olympic training. Kiefer advanced to the round of 16, where she was defeated by Liu Yongshi of China.
Gerek Meinhardt — Men’s Fencing (foil)
Meinhardt wrapped up his third Olympic games this summer with a bronze medal in men’s team foil over Italy. In the bronze-medal match, Meinhardt won two out his three bouts by a combined score of 17-7. In the men’s individual foil competition, Meinhardt made it to the quarterfinals before losing to Britain’s Richard Kruse.
Amanda Polk — Women’s Rowing
Polk, a 2008 graduate, took home a gold medal as a member of the United States’ women’s eight team. The U.S. won the gold medal match with a time of 6:01.49 while Great Britain and Romania took silver and bronze, respectively. Though Polk has been with the U.S. women’s rowing team since 2009, this was her first Olympic competition.
Melissa Tancredi — Women’s Soccer
Tancredi, a 2004 graduate, took home a bronze medal for Canada, as the Canadians bested host-nation Brazil, 2-1, in the bronze-medal match. Tancredi, a three-time Olympian, played in the match and had a header attempt on goal blocked.
Mariel Zagunis — Women’s Fencing (sabre)
Zagunis is no stranger to the Olympics. The former Notre Dame student-athlete won the United States’ first ever women’s gold in fencing at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and was the U.S. flag bearer for the 2012 Olympics in London.
In the women’s team sabre event, Zagunis and the U.S. won the bronze medal over Italy with Zagunis winning all three of her bouts by a combined score of 15-9. Zagunis lost in the round of 16 to Russia’s Yekaternia Dyachenko in the individual sabre event, .
With her bronze medal in the team sabre, Zagunis tied Alex Wilson, a 1932 graduate and track and field athlete, for the most Olympic medals by a Notre Dame athlete at four. Zagunis has two golds and two bronzes while Wilson won one silver and three bronzes.
Angie Akers — Coach, Women’s Beach Volleyball
Akers, a 1998 graduate, experienced her first Olympics as a member of the Netherlands’ beach volleyball coaching staff. The Dutch team of Madelein Meppelink and Marleen Van Iersel advanced to the round of 16 in the tournament.
Monty Williams — Coach, Men’s Basketball
Williams was an assistant coach with the U.S. men’s basketball team and took home a gold medal after a 96-66 defeat of Serbia. Williams was the head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans for five years before serving as an assistant coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder last season. The gold in Rio is the third straight for the men’s basketball team.