Aug. 23, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A total of nine future, current or former Notre Dame student-athletes competed at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China and three of them left with gold medals. Fencer Mariel Zagunis captured both a gold and bronze medal for the United States, while Kate (Sobrero) Markgraf and Shannon Boxx were key cogs for the U.S. women’s soccer team that claimed the top prize. All three are former Fighting Irish standouts.
Zagunis won the first gold medal for the United States in Beijing. She defeated her U.S. teammate Sada Jacobson in the final bout to capture her second straight Olympic gold medal in the individual women’s sabre competition. Zagunis also took gold at the 2004 Games in Athens. The former Notre Dame All-American earned her third Olympic medal as the U.S. women’s sabre team won bronze.
Former Notre Dame All-American Mariel Zagunis defended her Olympic gold medal in the individual sabre competition. She also captured a bronze medal for the U.S. in the sabre team event.
Zagunis and Markgraf join Alex Wilson (track and field) as the only former Notre Dame student-athletes to have won three Olympic medals. Markgraf claimed gold in 2004 (Athens) and silver in 2000 (Sydney). Wilson, who would later go on to become head coach of the Irish track and field team, competed for his native Canada at the 1928 (Amsterdam) and 1932 (Los Angeles) Games and captured a silver and two bronze medals.
Markgraf’s latest hardware was earned as the U.S. women’s soccer team repeated as Olympic champions by defeating Brazil, 1-0, in overtime in the gold-medal match. Joining her on the squad was her former Irish teammate Boxx, who also won gold with the U.S. at the ’04 Summer Games. The duo also helped Notre Dame win the 1995 NCAA title.
Boxx, Markgraf and Zagunis are the only former Notre Dame student-athletes to have won multiple Olympic gold medals.
The following is a complete recap of how all nine athletes with Notre Dame ties fared at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing …
2008 Summer Olympians with Notre Dame ties
Kelley Hurley (’10)
Fell to Korea’s Hyo Jung Jung, 15-6, in the first round of the individual women’s epee competition … Hurley was seeded 18th in the event … she will return to Notre Dame for her junior season in 2008-2009.
Gerek Meinhardt (’12)
Became the youngest U.S. Olympic fencer ever … won his first match in the individual foil competition over Egypt’s Mostafa Nagati, 15-3 … fell in the Round of 16 to China’s Jun Zhu, 15-9 … was seeded ninth in the men’s foil … will join the Irish as a freshman during the 2008-09 season.
Mariel Zagunis (’10)
Winner of the first U.S. gold medal of the Beijing Olympics … defended her gold medal from the 2004 Athens Olympics in the individual sabre … spearheaded a U.S. medal sweep in the weapon by defeating her teammate Sada Jacobson in the gold-medal bout … Zagunis was seeded sixth in the event … with her twin gold medals, Zagunis not only became the first U.S. fencer ever to win multiple sabre golds, but also the first of any nationality since France’s Jean-Francois Lamour won golds in men’s sabre in 1984 and 1988 (the women’s sabre event was added in 2004) … in addition, Zagunis became the first former Notre Dame student-athlete ever to earn multiple Olympic gold medals (that feat would be equaled by U.S. women’s soccer players and Notre Dame alums Kate (Sobrero) Markgraf and Shannon Boxx later in the Beijing Games) … Zagunis collected her third career Olympic medal by capturing bronze in the women’s sabre team competition … the U.S. fell to Ukraine, the eventual gold-medal winner, in the semifinals before taking down France, 45-38, in the bronze-medal bout … Zagunis is one of three former Notre Dame student-athletes to have three Olympic medals … former track and field All-American Alex Wilson (and future Irish head coach) competed for his native Canada at the 1928 and 1932 Games and captured a silver and two bronze medals … Markgraf has competed in three Olympic Games (2000, 2004, 2008) and has collected two gold medals and one silver.
Shannon Boxx (’99)
Captured her second straight gold medal as the U.S. women’s soccer team defeated Brazil, 1-0, in overtime in the final … she is one of three former Notre Dame student-athletes to have won multiple Olympic gold medals, joining teammate Kate (Sobrero) Markgraf and fencer Mariel Zagunis … Boxx, a defensive midfielder, played all 600 minutes on the pitch for the Americans in Beijing and registered 13 shots … she assisted on the game-winning goal in a 2-1 triumph of Canada in the quarterfinals en route to being named the Sierra Mist Woman of the Match … that marked her fourth point (1G-2A) in Olympic play … she also earned her 100th cap in the victory over the Canadians and became just the 22nd U.S. player to register that many National Team appearances … for the tournament, Team USA went 5-1-0.
Kate (Sobrero) Markgraf (’98)
Helped the U.S. win the gold medal for the second straight Olympics by taking down Brazil, 1-0, in overtime in the final … that marked her third Olympic medal, which ties her with Mariel Zagunis (fencing) and Alex Wilson (track and field) as the most for any former Notre Dame student-athlete … Markgraf won a gold at the ’04 Games in Athens after taking silver in 2000 in Sydney … her two Olympic gold medals matches her teammate Shannon Boxx and Zagunis as the most for any former Notre Dame student-athlete … in Beijing, Markgraf, a defender, played 510 of a possible 600 minutes on the field as the U.S. went 5-1-0.
Candace Chapman (’06)
Team Canada went 1-1-1 in pool play in its Olympic debut … Canada opened with a 2-1 win over Argentina … Chapman scored the team’s first goal, which was the first-ever score for Canada in Olympic play, against Argentina … the Canadians then played China to a 1-1 draw … Canada dropped its final preliminary match to Sweden, 2-1 … the Canadians finished third in group E to advance to the quarterfinals … Canada fell to the United States, 2-1, in overtime during the quarterfinals … Chapman played all 390 minutes during the tournament.
Melissa Tancredi (’05)
Team Canada went 1-1-1 in pool play in its Olympic debut … Canada opened with a 2-1 triumph of Argentina before playing China to a 1-1 draw … Tancredi scored the team’s lone goal in a 2-1 setback to Sweden in the final match of group play … the Canadians finished third in group E to advance to the quarterfinals … Canada fell to the United States, 2-1, in overtime during the quarterfinals … Tancredi played 177 of a possible 390 minutes during the tournament.
TRACK & FIELD
Thomas Chamney (’07)
Competed in the first of eight heats in the 800-meter run … finished fifth in his heat in 1:47.66 (35th-best time overall in heats) and did not qualify for the semifinals.
Selim Nurudeen (’05)
Competed in the fourth of six heats in the 110-meter hurdles … finished third in his first-round heat, moving on to the second round with a personal-best time of 13.58 (the 18th-best time in round one) … in round two, finished fourth in his heat in 13.66 (22nd-fastest time overall), yet did not qualify for the semifinals.
— ND —