Aug. 8, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Former Notre Dame track & field All-American Selim Nurudeen (’05) wrapped up his second consecutive Olympic appearance in the only activity by Fighting Irish athletes on Wednesday at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England.
TRACK & FIELD
Representing Nigeria for the second consecutive Olympiad, Nurudeen (full name pronounced suh-LIM new-roo-DEEN) finished fifth in his semifinal heat of the 110-meter high hurdles on Wednesday night at the Olympic Stadium in London, posting a time of 13.55 seconds that just off the personal-best mark of 13.51 he set in Tuesday’s preliminary heats. However, Nurudeen’s semifinal time was not good enough to advance him into the final that was contested later on Wednesday (and won by Aries Merritt of the United States).
A 15-time all-BIG EAST Conference and two-time All-America pick at Notre Dame, Nurudeen completed this year’s Olympics having successfully built upon his performance at the 2008 Beijing Games, when he reached the quarterfinals.
COMING UP THURSDAY…
Women’s soccer is back in the spotlight, as three Notre Dame alums remain in line for medals at this year’s Olympics. Shannon Boxx (’99) and the United States will face Japan in the gold medal match at 2:45 p.m. (ET) Thursday at Wembley Stadium in London, with the match televised live on NBC Sports Network and the NBC Olympic Soccer Channel, as well as on-line through nbcolympics.com and the NBC Live Extra mobile app. The final will be a rematch of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup title contest that ended in a 2-2 draw before Japan won the championship, 3-1 on penalties. The United States and Japan also have met in the past two Olympic tournaments, with the Americans winning in both the 2004 quarterfinals (2-1) and 2008 semifinals (4-2).
Boxx (who has not played for the U.S. since its 4-2 opening-day win over France on July 25 due to a hamstring injury) will be seeking to earn her third consecutive gold medal and become the first Notre Dame alum with three golds (former U.S. and Notre Dame teammate Kate (Sobrero) Markgraf (’98) and fencer Mariel Zagunis also have two). In addition, Boxx is assured of tying Markgraf (who also took silver with Team USA in 2000) and Zagunis (gold in 2004 and 2008 individual sabre; bronze in 2008 team sabre) for the second-most total Olympic medals earned by a Fighting Irish athlete, behind only legendary track & field athlete/coach Alex Wilson (`32), who earned four medals in two Olympiads for his native Canada (bronze in 4×400-meter relay in both 1928 and 1932, as well as silver in the 800 meters and bronze in the 400 meters in 1932).
The United States advanced to its fifth consecutive Olympic gold-medal match after a 4-3 extra-time win over Canada in Monday’s semifinals, with the Americans rallying from a one-goal deficit three times before netting the match-winner with less than one minute remaining in the second half of extra time. The U.S. has won gold in three of its four previous Olympic finals (1996, 2004, 2008), along with silver in 2000.
Meanwhile, Canada will look to complete one of the great turnarounds in international women’s soccer history when it faces France for the bronze medal at 8 a.m. (ET) Thursday at City of Coventry Stadium in Coventry, England, with that match also to be televised live on NBC Sports Network and the NBC Olympic Soccer Channel, as well as on-line through nbcolympics.com and ctvolympics.ca, and through the NBC Live Extra mobile app. Like the gold medal match, the Canada-France pairing also is a replay from the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, with France earning a 4-0 victory during the group stage. That loss not only was the low point in an 0-3 record for Canada at last year’s World Cup, but it also paved the way for the Canadians to make a coaching change and bring in former New Zealand manager John Herdman, who has been the catalyst behind this year’s Olympic run.
Canada is seeking its first Olympic medal in a traditional team sport (other than rowing or equestrian) since 1936, when its men’s basketball team won the silver medal at the Berlin Olympics. Besides Herdman, another major reason for the Canadians’ success this year has been the play of Notre Dame alum/forward Melissa Tancredi (’04), who has four goals and two assists in the tournament, while another Fighting Irish alum/center back Candace Chapman (’05) has provided veteran leadership even though she has not played since suffering a calf injury late in Canada’s 2-1 opening-day loss to Japan on July 25.
Should Tancredi and Chapman help their nation to the bronze medal on Thursday, it would assure Notre Dame of its largest medal haul (five) in one Olympiad, when adding in the bronze medals earned by current senior fencer Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas/Earl Warren) and her sister, Kelley Hurley (`10) in the women’s team epee competition. Fighting Irish athletes have earned four medals in each of the past two Olympiads, claiming four golds at the 2004 Athens Games (Boxx, Markgraf, Zagunis and Ruth Riley (`04) for Team USA in women’s basketball), and three golds and a bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics (Boxx, Markgraf and two from Zagunis).
For more information on Notre Dame participants at the 2012 London Olympics, visit the special Notre Dame Olympics microsite (und.com/olympics), the official London Olympics web site (london2012.com) or the official NBC Olympics web site (nbcolympics.com).
— ND —