UCLA’s Olympians

Here is a release from UCLA and the school’s list and the list of this summer’s Olympians.

UCLA to Have Large Presence at 2008 Olympic Games
Bruins to send a total of 38 athletes and coaches to Beijing

LOS ANGELES – Looking to add to its rich Olympic history yet again in 2008, UCLA will send a total of 38 athletes and coaches to this summer’s Olympic Games, which will be held Aug. 8-24 in Beijing, China. Of the 38 Bruins traveling to Beijing, 32 are athletes (27 former, 4 current, 1 incoming), and six are coaches.

UCLA was one of the nation’s most successful universities at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, ranking No. 1 among all universities in number of different medalists (19) and number of Olympians (57 representing the United States and 13 foreign countries). Of the 19 medals UCLA took home in 2004, eight were gold, eight were bronze and three were silver. If UCLA were a country, it would have placed 14th overall in the medal count.

A majority of UCLA’s 2008 contingent will be representing the United States (29). Eight other countries will also be represented by Bruins, including Australia (1), Bahamas (1), Belize (1), Canada (2), Korea (1) and Poland (1), Singapore (1) and Trinidad & Tobago (1). A large number of the UCLA athletes and coaches will be competing in the areas of women’s track & field (8) and softball (6). Other sports represented by Bruins include: men’s soccer (4), women’s soccer (3), women’s water polo (3), men’s water polo (2), men’s track & field (2), men’s tennis (2), women’s swimming (2), women’s beach volleyball (2), men’s indoor volleyball (1), men’s beach volleyball (1), men’s rowing (1) and women’s gymnastics (1).

The U.S. women’s track & field team will be led by current UCLA head coach Jeanette Bolden, a gold medalist herself at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Bruin athletes joining her on the U.S. squad will be Amy Acuff (high jump), Jessica Cosby (hammer), Dawn Harper (100m hurdles), Monique Henderson (4x400m relay) Suzy Powell (discus) and Sheena (Johnson) Tosta (400m hurdles). UCLA senior-to-be Rhonda Watkins will compete in the long jump for Trinidad & Tobago.

Both of the Bruins’ men’s track & field athletes in China will be representing non-U.S. countries, as pole vaulter Yoo Kim and 400-meter hurdler Jonathan Williams are looking to win medals for Korea and Belize, respectively.

The U.S. softball team will once again have a heavy Bruin presence with Stacey Nuveman, Andrea Duran, Tairia Mims Flowers, Natasha Watley and Lisa Fernandez (alt.) all members of that team. Nuveman, Mims Flowers, Watley and Fernandez were all members of Team USA’s gold-medal winning squad in 2004.

All three women’s soccer representatives are currently involved with the UCLA program, as head coach Jillian Ellis will serve as an assistant with the U.S. team, while Lauren Cheney (U.S.) and Kara Lang (Canada) will be competing as athletes at the Games. Cheney, who was originally named an alternate, was a late addition to the 18-player U.S. squad following an injury to forward Abby Wambach.

A total of five Bruins (3 women, 2 men) will be traveling to Beijing as members of USA Water Polo teams. Current assistant coach and former player Brandon Brooks joins Adam Wright on the men’s team. Former UCLA head coach Guy Baker will lead the U.S. women’s team, which also features Natalie Golda and Jaime Hipp.

Former UCLA soccer standouts Marvell Wynne, Patrick Ianni and Benny Feilhaber were recently named to the 18-player U.S. squad for the Games. Frankie Hejduk was named an alternate on the team, which is seeking its first medal in Olympic competition.

Both of UCLA’s representatives in men’s tennis will be playing doubles, as Marcin Matkowski (Poland) and Mark Knowles (Bahamas) will each be competing in the 32-team doubles draw in Beijing. Knowles, who is currently ranked No. 8 in the world in doubles, is making his fifth appearance at the Olympics. It will mark the second appearance for Matkowski, who also competed in Athens in 2004.

Nicolette Teo (Singapore) and Kim Vandenberg (U.S.) are the Bruins’ two representatives in women’s swimming. Teo will be making her third Olympic appearance in the breastroke, while Vandenberg, who narrowly missed the Games in 2004, will be competing in her first Olympics as a member of Team USA’s 800-meter freestyle relay team.

Former UCLA greats Elaine Youngs and Liz Masakayan will be teaming together in a player-coach relationship for the beach volleyball competition at the Games. Youngs, a 2004 bronze medalist in Athens, will be teaming with Nicole Branagh in Beijing, with Masakayan serving as the team’s coach.

Sports with just one UCLA representative in Beijing are rowing (Mike Altman/USA), gymnastics (Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs/Canada), men’s volleyball (John Speraw / USA Asst. Coach) and men’s beach volleyball (Bob Alejo/ USA Asst. Coach).

UCLA OLYMPIANS
(alumni student-athletes unless noted)
(usa team unless noted)

Softball
Stacey Nuveman
Andrea Duran
Tairia Mims Flowers
Natasha Watley
(Replacement player: Lisa Fernandez)
Tanya Harding – Australia

Women’s Water Polo
Guy Baker – U.S. Head Coach (former UCLA head coach for men and women)
Natalie Golda
Jaime Hipp

Men’s Water Polo
Brandon Brooks (former player and current assistant coach at UCLA)
Adam Wright

Men’s Soccer
Benny Feilhaber
Patrick Ianni
Marvell Wynne
Frankie Hejduk (alternate)

Women’s Soccer
UCLA Head Coach Jillian Ellis (Asst. for U.S. team)
Canada – Kara Lang (current S-A)
Lauren Cheney – (current S.A.)

Swimming
Nicolette Teo (Singapore) (was a senior)
Kim Vandenberg: 800 free relay

Tennis
Mark Knowles (Bahamas) – doubles
Marcin Matkowski (Poland) – doubles

Gymnastics
Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs (Canada) (incoming)

Track and Field
Amy Acuff (high jump)
Jeanette Bolden – U.S. Women’s Head Coach (UCLA head coach) – 310/206-6769
Jessica Cosby (hammer)
Dawn Harper (100m hurdles)
Monique Henderson (4x400m relay)
Yoo Kim (pole vault) – Korea
Suzy Powell-Roos (discus)
Sheena (Johnson) Tosta (400m hurdles)
Rhonda Watkins (long jump (Trinidad & Tobago)
Jonathan Williams (400 hurdles) – Belize

Rowing
Mike Altman, UCLA MBA Graduate – (Lightweight Fours)

Women’s Beach Volleyball
Elaine Youngs
Liz Masakayan (Coach of the Youngs/Nicole Branagh beach volleyball team)

Men’s Indoor Volleyball
John Speraw (U.S. Assistant Coach)

Men’s Beach Volleyball
Bob Alejo (Coach of the Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers beach volleyball team)

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  • Joe Bruin

    You guys aren’t going to cry about Brian posting Olympic stuff like when Jill did it? Olympics are only every 4 yrs…so deal with it.

  • ubcrluain

    Ahhhh…Brian, you read my mind. I appreciate this posting, since I will be on the lookout for these players during the Olympics. Thanks again.