A deeper look at Cal’s 50 Olympians

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To celebrate the opening ceremony of Rio de Janeiro’s 2016 Olympics, we at The Daily Californian have compiled a list of all 50 Cal athletes and coaches who will be representing their respective countries at this year’s games. 

Swimming

Abbey Wetzeil: Team USA has been awaiting the arrival of Abbey Weitzeil to lead the charge for America’s sprinting corps. In seven years, Weitzeil went from a beginner to an Olympic qualifier in the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle events. She deferred her enrollment at UC Berkeley for a year to remain with her club coach through the Olympic Games.

Anthony Ervin: With two Summer Olympics performances and a career full of accolades, Anthony Ervin will look to continue his superiority in the pool for the U.S. at the Rio Games. After auctioning off his only Olympic gold medal — which he won in 2000 in the men’s 50-meter freestyle — to survivors of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Tony will hope to win another gold this summer.

Camille Cheng: Camille Cheng, the recent Cal alumna, will swim for Hong Kong at Rio, along with two fellow Cal athletes. The former Cal swim team captain had a decorated collegiate career, highlighted with two national championships in 2012 and 2015. Cheng has had international experience competing for Hong Kong ever since 2013 and will look to make her Olympic debut a successful experience.

Damir Dugonjic: Cal alumnus and two time Olympian Damir Dugonjic will represent Slovenia at Rio. In his third Olympic appearance, “Dugi” is still seeking his first Olympic medal. At Cal, he competed on the 2011 NCAA Championship team, alongside fellow Olympians Nathan Adrian and Tom Shields. The three time NCAA Individual Breaststroke Champion will look to convert his collegiate success into Olympic medals.

Dana Vollmer: Cal alumna and Olympic swimming star Dana Vollmer will be competing in her third Olympic Games. Vollmer has had an eventful career, which began when she was only 16, and has won four Olympic gold medals. At the 2012 London Olympics, Vollmer set the world record in the 100-meter butterfly and will look to continue her international success at this year’s games.

David Durden: In his nine-season coaching career at Cal, David Durden has transformed Cal’s men’s swimming squad into one of the premier collegiate programs in the country. After winning Pac-12 Men’s Swimming Coach of the Year, Durden was offered the position to coach the USA men’s swimming team. He will look to help Team USA once again finish as the top swimming nation.

Farida Osman: A lot has changed in the four years since Egyptian swimming phenom Farida Osman made her first appearance on the Olympic scene. In 2012, she finished 41st in heats in the 50-meter freestyle as her country’s surprise — and only — women’s swimming representative. This time around, the 11-time Egyptian national record holder clinched her spot in the 100-meter butterfly (world ranking No. 34) and 50-meter freestyle (world ranking No. 35) events months in advance — giving the rising UC Berkeley senior plenty of time to prepare for a headlining role among the Games’ growing Egyptian swimming contingent.

Jacob Pebley: Jacob Pebley, an extremely important contributor for Cal, is among the many first-time ticket punchers. The Oregon native has consistently scored major points for the Bears at the NCAA Championship before breaking out in 2016 to have a stellar year. Pebley, however, is most known for his emotional outburst on national television after realizing he qualified for the Olympic Team with teammate Ryan Murphy.

Josh Prenot: Josh Prenot, like teammate Jacob Pebley, has had a breakout year after years of consistency at a high level for Cal. More importantly, Prenot has become the poster boy for “swimming your own race.” In his final chance at the Olympic Trials, Prenot ignored other competitors’ early leads to surge past them all in the final lap of the 200-meter breaststroke and almost captured the world record.

Kathleen Baker: Nineteen-year-old Kathleen Baker qualified for the 100-meter free-style backstroke, taking second place during trials. She is one of 12 Bears to represent the U.S. in swimming and follows dominant names such as Natalie Coughlin and Missy Franklin who have brought home medals in the past few Olympics. Baker also struggles with Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel condition she was diagnosed with in 2010.

Lauren Boyle: Lauren Boyle, who graduated from Haas in 2011, will be remembered as one of the greatest distance freestylers in Cal’s program by contributing to the school’s first national title in 2009. Since the 28-year-old’s international competition debut in 2005, she’s established herself as New Zealand’s most decorated swimmer and will seek the Kiwis’ first Olympic medal in 20 years.

Long Gutierrez: Long Gutierrez’s competition at the Olympics will be short. Roughly 55 seconds, to be more precise. Representing Mexico in the 100-meter butterfly Aug. 11, Gutierrez will be participating in his first Olympic Games. He joined Cal swimming in 2013 and holds the Mexican 100-meter fly long course record.

Missy Franklin: The bubbly personality, never-ending smile and natural propensity to hug everyone makes Missy Franklin a fan favorite. With one NCAA team title, a couple of NCAA individual titles, Olympic gold medals and world records, Franklin is a force to be reckoned with.

When Franklin broke out into the scene in 2011, she put the world on notice. The world could not catch up to Franklin as she accumulated nine World Championship gold medals and four Olympic gold medals. After suffering from severe back spasms at the 2014 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships, Franklin and her career hasn’t been quite the same. Both the world and other American swimmers have caught up. With her struggle to reach her best times, Franklin doesn’t exhibit the same dominance as she had just a couple of years ago.

Franklin shouldn’t be ignored, however. Her racing ability and tenacity is enough to threaten every competitor’s confidence. When Franklin’s force awakens, she can knock anyone out of her way.

Nathan Adrian: Cal alumnus and Olympic star swimmer Nathan Adrian will be making his third Olympic appearance at the Rio Games. After he won five individual and six relay NCAA titles at Cal, he has won four medals at the London and Beijing Olympics. Adrian has the chance to add to his medal count, as he will be competing for Team USA in two events.

Noemie Thomas: One of the few current Cal athletes to be competing in Rio, Thomas punched her ticket by swimming a personal best 57.02 100-meter fly at the Canadian Olympic Trials. In 2013, she placed seventh in the Worlds and has been training with Cal’s world-renowned staff since. This season, she earned both a Scholar All-American and a Pac-12 All-Academic nod.

Ryan Murphy: Four years ago, 16-year-old Ryan Murphy barely missed the Olympic Team. Ever since, he’s developed into a dominant backstroker by usurping Matt Grevers and Tyler Clary, both of whom are Olympic gold medalists in backstroke. Since his age-group years, Murphy has been knocking on backstroke legend Aaron Peirsol’s door. As Murphy takes on Peirsol’s world records, Murphy will be seizing Peirsol’s crown.

Stephanie Au: While making her third appearance in the games, Au will also be the flag bearer for her home country of Hong Kong during the Opening Ceremonies on Friday. An All-American in backstroke while at Cal, she has swum the 100-meter, 200-meter, 400-meter and 800-meter free in her previous Olympics. She was also a Scholar All-American and a Pac-12 All-Academic selection in her time at Berkeley.

Tom Shields: Tom Shields will be making his Olympic debut at the Rio Games in the 100-meter and 200-meter butterfly events. Shields is one of Cal’s most decorated swimmers, winning six individual NCAA titles and four relay championships. The future Cal Athletics Hall of Famer is arguably the strongest threat to beat Michael Phelps in both of his events at Rio.

Yvette Kong: After Yvette Kong failed to qualify for the London Olympics by .1 seconds, she entered a spiral of depression and anxiety and even quit the sport for a few months. Now she’s back, representing Hong Kong in the 4×100-meter medley relay, the 100-meter breaststroke and the 200-meter breaststroke. At age 23, Kong will be attending her first Olympic Games.

Rugby

Danny Barrett: In his four years at Cal, Barrett made the All-American rugby roster every season. He won national championships in both the 7s and 15s formats for the Bears and has been a fixture on the USA National 7s Team since. He will likely see a lot of playing time for the U.S. national team this year, in what will be rugby’s first appearance in the Olympics since 1924.

Table tennis

Lily Zhang: Ever seen “Top Spin,” the documentary on a young table tennis phenom? Yeah, that’s about Lily Zhang. She will head to her second consecutive Olympic games, her first coming in 2012 when she was 16. She disappointed in her first appearance but has been training hard since then, taking a year off from school to join the Austrian SYNO Strock and winning a U.S. women’s national title in singles and doubles.

Golf

Byeong Hun-An: Cal will be well-represented in the reintroduced Olympic event of golf by alumnus Byeong Hun-An. After making his name well-known in the United States by becoming the youngest-ever winner of the U.S. amateur, the South Korean golfer will attempt to make his mark on the international and professional level by becoming the first non-American or -Canadian golfer to win a gold medal.

Gymnastics

David Kruse: David Kruse was a six-time All-American Cal gymnast who went on to train for three years as a part of USA’s men’s gymnastics team. At the end of his preparation for the 2000 Sydney, Australia, Olympic trials, his dreams were shattered in a motorcycle accident in Berkeley. But now, Kruse will finally experience the Olympics. He is heading to Rio as a physician with Team USA.

JT Okada: The head coach of South Africa’s men’s gymnastics national team in the coming games, Okada has just finished his third year as the Cal men’s gymnastics team assistant coach. He coaches former Cal gymnast and fellow South African Ryan Patterson in Rio, in both men’s Olympic debuts. Their presence will mark South Africa’s first appearance in the men’s competition in more than 50 years.

Justin Howell: After coaching at Airborne Gymnastics for years with his soon-to-be wife, Justin Howell joined Cal as an assistant coach in 2011. He would soon become the head coach in 2012 and would lead the team to national prominence when he brought on his wife Liz as an assistant coach. He will be coaching gymnastics for Jamaica in these games.

Ryan Patterson: Patterson will be the first man to represent South African gymnastics on the Olympic stage since 1956. Born in the beautiful city of Johannesburg, South Africa, Patterson is a recent Cal graduate who finished his last season as an All-American in the vault. When he scored a 82.132 at the World Championships in Glasgow, he punched his ticket to Rio.

Toni-Ann Williams: Cal’s Toni-Ann Williams will compete for Jamaica in a series of women’s gymnastics competitions, most notably the all-around. Williams is the first gymnast to ever represent Jamaica on an international level and will look to add to the history she’s already made by securing an unlikely medal this summer. She has been extremely successful at Cal, racking up honors including the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year award in 2015.

Track & field:

David Torrence: Born in Okinawa, raised in Southern California and representing Peru is class of 2008 mid-distance runner David Torrence. The Peruvian-American athlete will compete in the men’s 1,500-meter run and the men’s 5,000-meter run to take place Aug. 16 and 17, respectively. In 2008, Torrence set that year’s Cal mile record, coming in at 3:58:62.

Inika McPherson: Coming off a 21-month drug suspension, former Cal Bear Inika McPherson has come back with a vengeance. McPherson will compete in the high jump for Team USA after reaching a personal best height of 6 feet and 4 inches during the Olympic qualifiers. Standing at 5 feet and 4 inches, the 29-year-old came in 12th place at the 2014 World Championship.

Jahvid Best: After numerous concussions, Jahvid Best’s NFL career was cut short, but the Cal alumnus has still found a sport where he can excel. The former Detroit Lions draft choice is set to compete in the 100-meter dash for Saint Lucia at Rio. He will hope to become the first-ever former NFL player, not only to compete, but medal in an Olympic event.

Milan Ristic: With a time of 13.39 seconds in a meet last month, Milan Ristic qualified to represent Serbia for the 2016 Olympics in the 110-meter hurdles. Ristic, a Serbian native who boasts national records in his home country, attended the University of North Carolina Asheville before transferring to UC Berkeley and finishing out his collegiate career as a Bear.

Field hockey

Kelly Knapp: 2005 Cal alumna and current Bears’ field hockey manager Kelly Knapp will join the ranks of Team USA as a manager in Rio. During her time at UC Berkeley, Knapp studied sociology while leading Division 1 goalkeepers in most minutes played in 2004. Knapp headed the NorPac conference in goals-against average for three consecutive seasons, demonstrating her excellence as a goalkeeper.

Water polo

Anna Illes: Anna Illes, Cal’s redshirt junior, will be competing in her Olympic debut for Hungary, alongside fellow Bear Dora Antal. After helping bring the 2016 European Championship to Hungary, she will look to bring her excellence into the Games. As part of the 2015 Bears squad that beat the Stanford Cardinal — the first time in 15 years — she will once again look to oust Stanford and U.S. Olympic star Maggie Steffens, this time on the international level.

Chris Oeding: Chris Oeding will be one of nine Olympic coaches currently or formerly affiliated with Cal. Coach Oeding will be the assistant coach for Team USA’s women’s water polo team. Team USA is coming off a victory at the London 2012 Olympics, and Coach Oeding will look to lead the squad to its fifth consecutive Olympic medal.

Dora Antal: Dora Antal will feature for Hungary’s women’s water polo team at this summer’s Olympics. Antal is a star for the Bears and was the best scorer on the team, scoring 144 goals in her first two years at Cal. The driver took last season off to prepare for the Olympics, and if she plays like she does at Cal, Antal will have a big impact on the Hungarians’ success in Rio.

John Mann: In his second Olympic appearance, Cal alumnus John Mann will hope to lead Team USA water polo to a gold medal. At Cal, Mann led the Bears to the 2006 NCAA title, being the team’s leading scorer with 80 goals. The former national collegiate men’s water polo Player of the Year has had a long history of international success, leading Team USA since 2007.

Luca Cupido: Luca Cupido will join Cal alumnus John Mann as a member of the U.S.’s water polo team at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Cupido, the rising junior, in his Olympic debut will look to bring Team USA its first gold medal in more than a century. After scoring the tournament winning goal at the 2016 FINA Intercontinental, he will look to continue his momentum into the Rio Games.

Roser Tarrago: Roser Tarrago, one of the stars from the Cal women’s water polo team, took last season off to prepare for the Olympics. The decision paid off, as she will play for Spain in Rio. Tarrago was one of the fastest and most athletic Bears in her two seasons playing for the team, and this made her a threat to score goals and dominate on the defensive end of the pool.

Soccer

Alex Morgan: Alex Morgan is the face of U.S. women’s soccer. The forward played for Cal for four years and amassed a total of 45 goals in that duration, good enough to make her Cal’s third-highest goalscorer of all time. Her international career is one of the most successful in women’s soccer with her playing a major part in the U.S. women’s national team’s wins at the 2011 FIFA World Cup, 2012 London Olympics and the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Betsy Hassett: Cal alumna Betsy Hassett is returning to the Rio Games for her second Olympic appearance under New Zealand’s banner. The former Manchester City Midfielder will look to lead the Football Ferns to their first Summer Olympic medal. She will, however, face some difficult competition in her group, including the four-time gold medalists and fan favorite United States.

Rowing

Caileigh Filmer: Caileigh Filmer is set to make her Olympic debut for Team Canada’s women’s rowing eight at the Rio Games. Filmer was an essential part of 2015 Cal’s varsity eight squad, which went undefeated until it lost to Ohio State in the National Championship. After representing Canada in the 2016 World Cups, she will look to continue her international success at the games.

Cory Bosworth: Cory Bosworth is the head coach for Team Bermuda in women’s rowing at the Rio Olympics. Bosworth was a four-year member of Cal’s rowing team and served as captain in 1999, her last year, helping the team win a bronze at the NCAA Championships. She served as Harvard-Radcliffe women’s heavyweight assistant varsity coach since 2002.

Laurel Korholz: Laurel Korholz was formerly an All-Pac-12 Cal rower and later joined the U.S. Women’s National Team coaching staff in 2005. Korholz has taken part in every Summer Olympics since she graduated from UC Berkeley in 1993. In the 2004 Olympics in Athens, she won a silver medal as a member of the women’s eight. This summer, she’s going to Rio as an assistant coach for the U.S. women’s crew team for a third time.

Marko Marjanovic: Marko Marjanovic will be making his Olympic debut at Rio for Serbia, rowing for the double sculls boat. As part of the 2006 crew that won both the Pac-10 and IRA National Championship, Marjanovic had an accomplished collegiate career at Cal. After placing second in the 2015 World Cup, he will look to continue his international success at Rio.

Nareg Guregian: One of the most decorated rowers in the history of Cal rowing, Guregian opened his career by leading the Freshman Eight to both Pac-10 and IRA Championships in 2007. He would finish his collegiate career as the Pac-10 Athlete of the Year after his boat took home the national title in the IRA Championships in 2007.

Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk: Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk of Krakow, Poland, is rowing in the men’s single sculls Aug. 6. Wegrzycki first picked up an oar when he was 10 years old and has been rowing his heart out ever since. Wegrzycki-Szymczyk came in first in the 2013 junior world championships and joined Cal rowing in 2014. This will be the rising junior’s first Olympic Games.

Olivier Siegelaar: Already a veteran in the Olympics, Siegelaar will be making his third straight appearance for the Dutch. While he was rowing at Cal, Siegelaar was a fixture on the Varsity Eight boat and helped the team claim the Pac-12 championship in 2009 and then an IRA title the next season. His team will be trying to improve on its fourth place finish in 2012.

Will Dean: Will Dean, the Cal men’s crew alumnus, will be rowing for Team Canada at the Rio Games. The Kelowna, British Columbia, native is making his second Olympic appearance and will row in the quadruple sculls boat. Dean was part of the Cal 2010 IRA National Championship Team and will compete against his former Cal teammates, Nareg Guregian of the U.S. and Olivier Siegelaar of the Netherlands, at the Games.

Volleyball

Carli Lloyd: Carli Lloyd, Cal’s former volleyball star who is often mistakenly confused with the USA’s soccer player, will represent the U.S. in indoor volleyball at this year’s Games. The former National Player of the Year, who led the Bears to two Final Fours and a national championship game, will be making her Olympic debut as a setter for the Red, White and Blue.

David Dantes: Dantes will help coach Team USA’s men’s volleyball team in Rio. He has worked his way up at Cal, starting as a volunteer assistant. In 2011, he became the director of operations for the Cal women’s volleyball program. He’s also participated in east coast volleyball, where he assistant coached Yale’s team and played setter for Boston University’s club team.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated swimmer Yvette Kong is representing China in the Rio Olympics. In fact, Kong is representing Hong Kong.

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  • Nicholas J. Matzke

    Go Cal! Although, every school in Cali seems to think they have the most: https://twitter.com/NickJMatzke/status/762909071531921408

  • is it gauche to ask what they studied at Cal? I mean, it’s a world-class school, surely they majored in something interesting in addition to their athletic activities?

  • disqus_vj4iK4XA8l

    Yvette Kong is representing Hong Kong, not China.

  • Highpriest333

    Roll on in Rio!

  • elrod

    It’s absolutely amazing there are so many athletes and coaches representing a single school. Go Bears!