Aug. 7, 2012

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – While the Olympic experience ended for Notre Dame junior women’s basketball forward Natalie Achonwa (Guelph, Ontario/St. Mary’s Catholic) on Tuesday, Fighting Irish track & field alums Molly Huddle (’06) and Selim Nurudeen (’05) kept their medal hopes alive by advancing through the preliminary heats at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England.

Huddle advanced to the finals in the 5,000-meter run, finishing fifth in her heat on Tuesday morning at the Olympic Stadium in London. The 10-time Notre Dame All-American completed the race in a season-best time of 15:02.26, the eighth-fastest mark of the day. She now will seek to post the best American finish ever in the Olympic 5,000-meter final (currently ninth by Lynn Jennings in 1996 and Kara Goucher in 2008) when this year’s medal race is run at 3:05 p.m. (ET) Friday, with live on-line coverage at and through the NBC Live Extra mobile app, and potential tape-delayed coverage during NBC’s primetime window starting at 8 p.m. (ET) Friday.

For the second consecutive Olympiad, Nurudeen (full name pronounced suh-LIM new-roo-DEEN) advanced out of his first heat in the 110-meter high hurdles, placing second in his race (and 16th overall) with a personal-best time of 13.51 seconds on Tuesday morning at the Olympic Stadium in London. A 15-time all-BIG EAST Conference and two-time All-America pick at Notre Dame, Nurudeen once again is representing Nigeria in the Olympics, having reached the quarterfinals in 2008.

Achonwa (pronounced uh-CHAWN-wuh) registered four points, two rebounds, one assist and one steal in 13 minutes as Canada dropped a 91-48 decision to the four-time defending gold medalist United States in the quarterfinals of the Olympic women’s basketball tournament on Tuesday afternoon at the Olympic Basketball Arena in London. The loss eliminated Canada from the Olympics, ending that nation’s best performance at the Games since 1984, when it placed fourth.

Achonwa, the second-youngest women’s basketball player at this year’s Olympics at age 19 (and a mere 42 days older than Angola’s Ana Goncalves), came off the bench in all six games for Canada, averaging 7.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. She also ranked among the top four on the Canadian roster in rebounds (second), assists (third), steals (third – 0.8 spg.), field goal percentage (third – .385) and points (fourth), while posting double-figure scoring efforts against Group B winner France (14 points, game-high eight rebounds) and the world’s sixth-ranked team, Brazil (11 points) during the preliminary round.

Nurudeen will race in the 110-meter hurdle semifinals at 2:15 p.m. (ET) Wednesday, needing a top-eight finish (best two finishers in the three semifinals, plus next two best times) to advance to the finals that will take place at 4:15 p.m. (ET) Wednesday. Live on-line coverage of both the semifinals and finals will be available at and through the NBC Live Extra mobile app, and tape-delayed coverage during NBC’s primetime window starting at 8 p.m. (ET) Wednesday.

For more information on Notre Dame participants at the 2012 London Olympics, visit the special Notre Dame Olympics microsite (, the official London Olympics web site ( or the official NBC Olympics web site (

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