Sept. 30, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The University of Notre Dame will celebrate the nine current and former Irish student-athletes who participated in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China, over the weekend of the Oct. 4, 2008, Notre Dame-Stanford football game.
The Olympians with Fighting Irish connections will be saluted at the Friday Football Kickoff Luncheon and introduced at the Friday night pep rally - including a specially-produced video tribute to be shown at both events. Olympians who are in attendance at the luncheon will be signing autographs from 1:30-2:00 p.m. EDT in the Joyce Center field house following the luncheon. A special commemorative poster featuring all nine Olympians will be available to all luncheon attendees.
Then, the Olympians will be honored Saturday at halftime of the football game.
Of the nine current or former Notre Dame student-athletes who competed at the 2008 Summer Games, eight of the nine will return to campus for the festivities (only soccer standout Shannon Boxx will be unable to return to campus). Fencer Mariel Zagunis captured both a gold and a bronze medal in sabre for the United States in Beijing, while Kate (Sobrero) Markgraf and Boxx were key cogs for the U.S. women's soccer team that claimed the top prize.
Zagunis and Markgraf join Alex Wilson (he competed in track and field in 1928 and 1932) as the only former Notre Dame student-athletes to win three Olympic medals. Zagunis also won gold in 2004 (Athens) - and Markgraf claimed gold in 2004 and silver in 2000 (Sydney). Boxx, Markgraf and Zagunis are the only former Notre Dame student-athletes to win multiple Olympic gold medals.
Here's a complete listing of participation by the nine Olympians in Beijing:
Kelley Hurley '10 -- United States: Fencing
Hurley fell 15-6 to Korea's Hyo Jung Jung in the first round of the individual women's epee competition. Seeded 18th in the event, she returns to Notre Dame for her junior season in 2008-2009. A two-time All-American with the Irish, Hurley won the 2008 NCAA women's epee title. Hurley is from San Antonio, Texas.
Gerek Meinhardt '12 -- United States: Fencing
Meinhardt became the youngest U.S. Olympic fencer ever by competing in Beijing. He won his first match in individual foil competition 15-3 over Egypt's Mostafa Nagati, then fell 15-9 in the Round of 16 to China's Jun Zhu. Seeded ninth in the men's foil, he joins the Irish as a freshman for the 2008-09 season. Meinhardt is from San Francisco, Calif.
Mariel Zagunis -- United States: Fencing (Sabre)
Winner of the first U.S. gold medal of the Beijing Olympics, Zagunis defended her gold medal from the 2004 Athens Olympics in the individual sabre. She spearheaded a U.S. medal sweep in the weapon in the individual competition, then collected her third career Olympic medal by capturing bronze in the women's sabre team competition. She was the 2006 NCAA sabre champion. Zagunis is from Beaverton, Ore.
Shannon Boxx '99 -- United States: Soccer
Boxx captured her second straight gold medal as the U.S. women's soccer team defeated Brazil 1-0 in overtime in the final. A defensive midfielder, she played all 600 minutes for the Americans in Beijing and registered 13 shots. She assisted on the game-winning goal in a 2-1 triumph against Canada in the quarterfinals. Boxx is from Torrance, Calif.
Kate (Sobrero) Markgraf '98 -- United States: Soccer
Markgraf helped the U.S. win gold for the second straight Olympics by taking down Brazil 1-0 in overtime in the final. In Beijing, she played 510 of a possible 600 minutes on defense as the U.S. went 5-1-0 overall. Markgraf also won a gold at the '04 Games in Athens after taking silver in 2000 in Sydney. Markgraf is from Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
Candace Chapman '06 -- Canada
Chapman scored Canada's first goal, the first-ever score for Canada in Olympic play, against Argentina. Team Canada finished 1-1-1 in pool play in its Olympic debut, then lost to the United States 2-1 in overtime during the quarterfinals. Chapman played all 390 minutes during the tournament. Chapman is from Ajax, Ontario, Canada.
Melissa Tancredi '04 -- Canada
Tancredi scored Canada's lone goal in a 2-1 setback to Sweden in the final match of group play, as Team Canada went 1-1-1 in pool play. The Canadians finished third in group E to advance to the quarterfinals, falling to the United States 2-1 in overtime. Tancredi played 177 of a possible 390 minutes during the tournament. Tancredi is from Ancaster, Ontario, Canada.
Thomas Chamney '07 -- Ireland
: Track and Field (800-Meter Run)
Chamney competed in the first of eight heats in the 800-meter run. He finished fifth in 1:47.66 in the heat (35th best time overall) and did not qualify for the semifinals. The three-time Irish All-American in the 800 won four BIG EAST titles, including back-to-back indoor 800 crowns in '06 and '07. Chamney is from Tipperary, Ireland.
Selim Nurudeen '05
-- Nigeria: Track and Field (110-Meter Hurdles)
Nurudeen finished third in his Round 1 heat in a personal-best 13.58 (18th best time overall), then ran 13.66 to finish fourth in his Round 2 heat (22nd overall) and did not qualify for the semifinals. A two-time All-American, the former Irish captain was a seven-time BIG EAST champion. Nurudeen is from Friendswood, Texas.