WESTWOOD—UCLA is sending 36 Bruins athletes to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Out of the 36, 29 include current, incoming or former student athletes. Four are UCLA alumni/students, and three are current or former coaches. The 2016 Rio Olympics began on August 3 with soccer games two days before the Opening Ceremonies that will occur on Friday, August 6. The Olympics will end on August 21.
UCLA will be represented by 12 countries at the Olympics. Out of the 36 representatives, 24 are from the United States. The other Bruins representatives are from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland and Singapore. The UCLA Bruins will have six Bruins in both the women’s soccer and women’s water polo competitions. The Bruins will also be competing in track and field, badminton, men’s indoor volleyball, men’s tennis, and several others.
UCLA Athletics wrote on their Facebook wall, “Get ready to root for our Bruins #BruinsProud.”
For 13 of UCLA’s 2016 Olympians, this will be a return visit to the Olympics. Karch Kiarly, USA Women’s Volley Head Coach is making his fifth visit to the Olympics. Kiarly won gold with the USA Indoor Volleyball men’s team in 1984 and 1988, gold in beach volleyball in 1996 and silver in 2012 as assistant coach of the USA Women’s Volleyball team.
Marathoner Meb Keflezighi and tennis player Marcin Matkowski are competing in their fourth Olympic Games. Keflezighi ran in the 2000 Olympic Games in the 10,000 meter. He ran in the marathon in 2004 and 2012. He won the silver medal in 2004. Matkowski has been participating in the Olympics since 2004. Jill Ellis, former UCLA women’s soccer head coach from 1999-2009, is coaching in her fourth Olympic Games, but now her first time as the head coach of Team USA.
Two members of the USA men’s volleyball staff will be making their third Olympic appearances. John Speraw, UCLA Men’s Volleyball coach is in his first Olympics as head coach for Team USA after serving as an assistant coach in 2008 and 2012. Team leader Erik Sullivan previously played on the 2000 and 2004 teams.
Olympic gold medalists Courtney Mathewson, and Head Coach Adam Krikorian with the USA women’s water polo, men’s tennis player Jean-Julien Rojer, pole vaulter Tori Pena, javelin thrower Brittany Borman, swimmer Ting Wen Quah and women’s soccer player Rosie White will all make their second appearance at the games.
UCLA Olympians this year include six current student-athletes and incoming students. UCLA has been participating in the Olympics since 1920. UCLA Athletics reports that, Bruins have accrued a remarkable 253 medals—including 128 gold medals from the Olympics. UCLA has sent 424 Bruins to the games with a combined total of 687 appearances throughout the years. In a Fox Sports article, they ranked UCLA as the second-best college to produce the best Team USA Olympic athletes, just after Stanford. UCLA will also have six alumni reporting the games with NBC.