Aug. 21, 2016
By Dan Colleran
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Games of the XXXI Olympiad came to a close on Sunday afternoon (Aug. 21) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil but not before assistant coach Monty Williams helped Team USA claim the gold medal in men’s basketball with a 96-66 win over Serbia.
For the Irish, the Games were also highlighted by Amanda Polk’s gold medal as part of Team USA’s women’s eight boat.
In addition, former Notre Dame women’s soccer standout Melissa Tancredi earned her second career Olympic bronze with Team Canada.
Former Notre Dame fencers Mariel Zagunis and Gerek Meinhardt also claimed bronze medals as part of Team USA’s women’s sabre and men’s foil fencing teams.
— Gold: Amanda Polk, a 2008 Notre Dame graduate and four-time All-American with the Fighting Irish, is now an Olympic Champion. Polk was a member of the United States women’s eight that powered to victory (6:01:49) in the Grand Finale at Lagao Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The U.S. Rowing Women’s Eight has now won 11 consecutive world titles – every world championship and Olympic title since 2006. Polk is the first Notre Dame rower to earn a gold medal at the Olympics.
— Bronze: Former University of Notre Dame fencer Mariel Zagunis earned an Olympic bronze medal as the United States women’s sabre team defeated Italy 45-30 on Aug. 13. Zagunis, who closed out the victory in the anchor position, outscored her Italian opponents 15-9 Saturday in helping to lead the U.S. to bronze for the second time in as many times as the weapon has been contested on the team level. Zagunis and Team USA also brought home the hardware at the 2008 Games in Beijing. It was the fourth career Olympic medal for Zagunis, who also collected individual gold medals at the 2004 and 2008 Games and was the first American fencer to win a gold medal in Olympic competition.
— Bronze: University of Notre Dame graduate Gerek Meinhardt played the part of linchpin for the United States men’s foil team (Aug. 12), leading a 45-31 comeback victory against top-seeded Italy in the bronze-medal match to bring home the first medal for a U.S. men’s foil squad since the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. Meinhardt returned to the piste against Andrea Baldini in the fifth of the match’s nine rounds with the U.S. trailing 20-17. With a target of 25 points, Meinhardt ripped off eight straight touches to give his team a 25-20 lead it would never relinquish. He out-scored his opponents 12-1 in his final two bouts as the U.S. continued to expand its lead. The team victory gave Meinhardt, who plans to retire from fencing to focus on his career following the conclusion of the Rio games, his first medal in three Olympic appearances. At his first appearance in Beijing in 2008, he became the youngest U.S. Olympic fencer of all time at the age of 17.
— ND —
Dan Colleran, associate athletics communications director at the University of Notre Dame, has been a part of Fighting Irish Media since August 2015 and coordinates all media and publicity efforts surrounding the Notre Dame hockey and men’s golf programs. A native of Walpole, Massachusetts, Colleran spent the previous three years working with the men’s hockey and soccer programs at Providence College. Colleran also spent two years as an Assistant Executive Director of Communications & Championships at the Ivy League and is a graduate of Providence College (’06 & ’08G).