God, Country, Notre Dame
A simple but powerful creed that the Notre Dame faithful live by. For the next two weeks, 10 current and former student athletes along with three Notre Dame coaches have the honor and privilege of representing a handful of countries their native countries on the world’s biggest stage.
The Irish fencing team, a perennial NCAA powerhouse, is responsible for 5 of the 10 Irish competitors, all of which already have Olympic experience. Among them is Mariel Zagunis, who carried the American flag at the opening ceremonies at the 2004 London Olympics, in which she made a miraculous underdog effort to win gold, making her the first U.S. fencer to win gold in 100 years. Zagunis lost in the second round of the women’s individual sabre in Rio, but will compete in the women’s team sabre semifinals next Saturday morning as the U.S. takes on Poland.
Other fencers include Courtney Hurley and her sister Kelley Hurley, Gerek Meinhardt, and current Notre Dame student athlete Lee Kiefer.
Former Irish women’s basketball star and current Indiana Fever forward/center Natalie Achonwa is representing Canada on the hardcourt, who are 1-0 with a 22 point win over China’s women’s basketball team, while fellow Canadian ND alum Melissa Tancredi is competing for the Canadian women’s soccer team, who have improved to 2-0 with wins over Zimbabwe and Australia. While this is Achonwa’s first time playing in the Olympics, Tancredi is making her third Summer Olympics appearance.
Former Irish runner Margaret Bamgbose will be representing Nigeria in the 400 meter dash, while Molly Huddle will compete for the U.S. in the 10,000 meters. I’m not great at math, but supposedly these women basically sprint for just over 6 miles. I ran away from a bee last week and was out of breath for 30 minutes.
2008 grad Amanda Polk and her USA women’s eight boat team is in pursuit of their 11th consecutive World/Olympic title, a feat that has never been done. So far, Polk’s team has advanced through the first round, posting the fastest time in their heat.
Be sure to check back in with OFD for updates as the Irish continue to compete for national, collegiate, and personal pride.
Go Irish, beat Planet Earth.