July 14, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Just a year away from the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where several former University of Notre Dame student-athletes could participate, the Irish plenty of representation at the elite Pan American Games in Toronto (July 10-26). Seven current or former Irish student-athletes are either set to compete or have already brought home gold in four sports while competing for three countries.
Irish women’s basketball junior Taya Reimer (United States) and recent graduate Natalie Achonwa (’14 – Canada) are suiting up on the hardwood, while freshman women’s swimmer Sofia Revilak will compete for Mexico in the pool.
Former Irish national champion fencers Mariel Zagunis (2004-06) and Gerek Meinhardt (’14) will fence for the U.S. along with senior Lee Kiefer.
Rower Molly Bruggeman already claimed gold in Toronto Monday in the women’s pair to pick up her third international medal.
Here’s a little bit more information about each of the sensational seven:
- A four-time USA Basketball team member, Reimer is one of 12 players on the Pan Am Games squad ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ she previously competed on the 2011 U16 National Team (Gold Medal), the 2011 3×3 Youth Team (Honorary Bronze Medal) and the 2012 U17 National Team (Gold Medal).
- A two-time All-American at Notre Dame, Achonwa has represented Canada on the hardwood since the age of 15 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ she is a six-time Canada Basketball selection and a three-time international medalist ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ her most recent medal was a silver medal at the 2013 FIBA Americas Championship ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Achonwa also competed for Canada at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Mariel Zgunis (U.S. Fencing Bio)
- The most decorated American fencer in history, Zgunis is an International Fencing Federation (FIE) Hall of Famer and is ranked No. 1 in the U.S. and No. 3 in the world in the saber ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ won individual gold medals in 2004 and 2008 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ also won a team bronze in 2008 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ was first U.S. fencer in 100 years to win an Olympic gold medal when she won in 2004 as a 19 year old that qualified for the team as a replacement athlete.
Lee Kiefer (U.S. Fencing Bio)
- Ranked No. 1 in the U.S. and No. 3 in the world in the foil, Kiefer competed at the 2012 Olympics ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ she won a gold medal as an individual and with the team at the 2011 Pan Am Games ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ she is a three-time NCAA Champion in the foil ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Kiefer will take the 2015-16 season off from Notre Dame to train for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
- A two-time Olympian (2008 & 2012), Meinhardt is a double domer with a bachelor’s degree in information technology management (’13) and a master’s in business administration (’15) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ he is ranked No. 3 in the U.S. and No. 10 in the world in the foil ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ won a gold medal with his squad at the 2011 Pan American Games.
- A state champion in Virginia before moving back to her home country of Mexico following her freshman year in high school, Revilak is a member of the Mexican Junior National Team ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ competed at the 2014 Junior Pan Pacific Championships and the 2013 FINA World Junior Championships.
“I know that Sophia is incredibly excited and proud to represent both her home country of Mexico and the University of Notre Dame at the Pan American Games,” said Irish head women’s swimming & diving coach Mike Litzinger. “Swimming in international competition is a goal every high level athlete in our sport strives for, and Sophia has been working hard toward that end. I cannot think of a better way to start off her career in South Bend. We are extremely proud of her.”
Molly Bruggeman (U.S. Rowing Bio)
- Bruggeman, a three-time international gold medalist, claimed her most recent gold medal Monday (July 13) with Huelskamp, as the duo won the women’s pair in 7:20.98 by almost 12 seconds ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ she previously won gold medals at the 2014 World Rowing U23 Championships.
ABOUT THE PAN AM GAMES
The Pan Am Games are held once every four years in the year prior to a summer Olympic Games and gives athletes another opportunity to compete at a high level on the international stage. Forty-one countries or territories from North or South America compete in the Pan Am Games.
The world’s third largest international multi-sport games behind only the Olympics and the Asian Games, the Pan Am Games began in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1951.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
ESPN2 will showcase daily a Pan Am Games highlights show (check local listings)
All games on ESPN3 & all times are Eastern
Thursday (July 16)
6 p.m. – Canada vs. Venezuela
9 p.m. – USA vs. Brazil
Friday (July 17)
6 p.m. – Canada vs. Argentina
9 p.m. – USA vs. Dominican Republic
Saturday (July 18)
6 p.m. – Canada vs. Cuba
9 p.m. – USA vs. Puerto Rico
Sunday (July 19)
6 p.m. – First semifinal
9 p.m. – Second semifinal
Monday (July 20)
4 p.m. – Bronze medal game
8:30 p.m. – Gold medal game
Monday (July 20)
Individual sabre – Zagunis – All Day with gold medal bout at 7:10 p.m. ET
Wednesday (July 22)
Individual foil – Kiefer & Meinhardt – All Day with gold medal bouts at 7:33 & 7:53 p.m. ET (women and men, respectively)
Thursday (July 23)
Team sabre – Zagunis – All Day with bronze medal bout at 5:05 p.m. ET & gold medal bout at 7:05 p.m. ET
Saturday (July 25)
Team foil – Kiefer & Meinhardt – All Day with bronze medal bouts at 5:05 & 6:05 p.m. ET (women then men), followed by gold medal bouts at 7:05 and 8:05 p.m. ET (women then men)
July 16 (Thursday)
100m Butterfly Heat & Finals
July 18 (Saturday)
4x100m Medley Relay Heats & Final
July 13 (Monday)
Women’s Pair – Gold Medal – Teamed with Emily Huelskamp – Time of 7:20.98
–Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director