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Irish In Rio: Action Packed Irish Monday

Aug. 8, 2016 by Tony Jones

NOTRE DAME, Ind. ââ’¬” One of the busiest competitive days for former University of Notre Dame athletes at the 2016 Olympic Games commences on Monday, as five with Irish ties are set for action.

Notre Dame rowing great Amanda Polk, a four-time Irish All-American, prepares for her first Olympic ride with the Team USA women’s eight boat as preliminary racing begins at 7:50 a.m. ET (online streaming). The U.S. women’s eight, in search of its 11th straight World/Olympic championship title, will race out of lane one in the first of two heats.

Polk, a five-time world champion with Team USA, has been a member of the U.S. senior women’s rowing team on two occasions, 2009-11 and again from 2013-present. She also was a member of the U.S. U-23 team in 2008 and of the U.S. junior team in 2004. In 2013, Polk raced with the U.S. women’s eight boat that set a world record with a time of 5:54.16 at the World Rowing Cup.

One of the most decorated fencers in Notre Dame history, Mariel Zagunis begins her quest for a third Olympic gold medal as the women’s individual sabre preliminary rounds begin at 8 a.m. Zagunis, making her fourth straight Olympic start, has already advanced to the Round of 32 that will take place on the green piste at approximately 9 a.m. The medal rounds are set to commence at approximately 4:15 p.m.

Zagunis, who won individual sabre gold medals in 2004 and 2008 and added a team sabre bronze medal in 2008, could tie former Notre Dame track & field All-American/coach Alex Wilson with four career medals in Olympic competition. Zagunis is the top-ranked U.S. fencer in the weapon, and is ranked No. 3 in the world.

Natalie Achonwa and Team Canada return to women’s basketball stage play in Group B against Serbia at 1:15 p.m. Canada stormed to a 90-68 opening win against China on Aug. 6, a game that saw Achonwa score six points and pull down two rebounds.

Achonwa is making her second straight Olympic appearance with Team Canada after competing at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. An All-American and team captain during her Notre Dame career, Achonwa has helped guide Canada to a pair of gold medals at the 2015 Pan American Games and the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship.

Today | August 8

–Mariel Zagunis begins her push for a third career gold medal when the women’s fencing individual sabre draw gets started at 8 a.m. (online streaming). Medal rounds are set to begin at 4:15 p.m. (NBCSN). Zagunis can tie Notre Dame track & field legend Alex Wilson as a four-time Olympic medalist by reaching the podium.

–Amanda Polk makes her Olympic debut with the Team USA women’s eight boat in preliminary rowing at 7:50 a.m. (online streaming).

–Natalie Achonwa and Team Canada face off against Serbia at 1:15 p.m. (online streaming) in the second game of Group B play in the women’s basketball draw.

–Angie Akers and the Netherlands beach volleyball team of Marlene van Iersel and Madelein Meppelink are set to square off with Costa Rica at 4:30 p.m. (online streaming) in the preliminary pool of Group F.

–Monty Williams and Team USA look to build off a 119-62 win over China in the men’s basketball preliminary round of Group A on Aug. 6 by facing Venezuela at 6 p.m. (NBCSN).

Tomorrow | August 9

–Melissa Tancredi and the Canadian women’s soccer team look to improve to 3-0 in Group F play with a first round meeting with Germany at 3 p.m. (NBC Sports Live Extra).

–Angie Akers will lead the Netherlands beach volleyball duo of Sophie van Gestel and Jantine van der Vlist as they take on the German team of Karla Borger and Britta Buthe in a preliminary match in Group E.

Complete schedules for when the athletes with Notre Dame ties will be competing can be found at Join the conversation on social media and support the Irish using #OlympicND.

Fans can also subscribe to the Irish in Rio calendar, which features detailed information about Notre Dame athletes, alumni and coaches as they compete in the upcoming Rio Olympic games. Subscribers will receive device alerts before each athlete competes, television information (if applicable) and a link to stream the competition from NBC’s Olympics website. This calendar is the best way to keep up with the Irish as they represent their countries and Notre Dame in Rio.

Fans can subscribe to the calendar with only a few clicks, and updated information will automatically be set to your device as it becomes available:

The networks and digital platforms of NBC will present an unprecedented amount of coverage, including the most live event coverage of any Olympic Games. All Olympic competition will be live streamed through and the NBC Sports app.


Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball and men’s soccer programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana Monroe and with the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills.