She made history as the first U.S. athlete to compete in the Olympics wearing a hijab Monday, so it's only fitting that fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad earned Duke's first medal in Rio.
Muhammad won a bronze medal in the team saber competition Saturday, competing with Dagmara Wozniak, Mariel Zagunis and Monica Aksamit to knock off Italy 45-30 in the bronze medal match. Earlier in the day, Muhammad and her teammates narrowly lost a 45-42 battle against Russia in the semifinals after squeaking by Poland 45-43 in the quarterfinals.
The No. 2 saber in the U.S. and 12th-ranked competitor in the world, Muhammad won her first individual match Monday before falling in the Round of 16 in the individual competition.
One of TIME Magazine's 100 most influential people, Muhammad was a three-time All-American at Duke at 2004, 2005 and 2006.
Although Muhammad is the first Blue Devil to medal in Rio, she likely won't be the last.
Duke men's basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski and associate head coach Jeff Capel are leading the U.S. national team, which has compiled a 5-0 record in group play despite close calls against Australia, Serbia and France. Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving is starting on the team, and posted a double-double and tied the U.S. Olympic team record with 12 assists Sunday against France.
On the soccer field, Duke women's soccer senior Rebecca Quinn has played big minutes for Canada, which advanced to the semifinals Friday after Team USA was upset by Sweden. Quinn has helped a defensive unit that has allowed only two goals in four matches. Canada is 4-0 so far in Rio and posted an impressive win against Germany in group play—Quinn had an assist in the contest—before beating France to advance to the semifinals. Canada will take on Germany again in the semifinals Tuesday.
Former Duke field hockey defender Stefanie Fee is 4-1 with USA field hockey, as the Americans upset Argentina and Australia in their first two games before routing Japan and India and falling 2-1 to Great Britain. Team USA finished second behind Great Britain in its group and will play in the quarterfinals Monday.
Three-time Olympian Shannon Rowbury got off to a strong start in the 1,500 meters on the first day of track and field competition Friday, posting the second-fastest time (4:06:47) in qualifying to advance to Sunday's semifinal heats. She then advanced to Tuesday's final by finishing third in her heat Sunday with a similar time.
The American record holder in the event is looking for her first Olympic medal after finishing in the top seven in Beijing and London.
Medical student Abby Johnston has concluded competition in Rio, placing 12th in the 3-meter individual diving competition Sunday afternoon to cap off her illustrious diving career. A silver medalist in the synchronized competition in 2012, Johnston advanced to Sunday's final round by finishing tied for fifth in Saturday afternoon's semifinals and will now continue her medical school journey when she returns to Durham.
Johnston's coach, Duke diving head coach Nunzio Esposto, is coaching Johnston and Team USA's other divers in Rio as a member of the national team's coaching staff.
Former Duke women's basketball star Lindsey Harding and Belarus had a tough time in group play, posting a 1-4 record. Harding had several solid performances, scoring in double figures in all five games, but the team lost three of its first four games by a combined eight points and was eliminated when Australia rallied from a seven-point deficit entering the fourth quarter to beat Belarus 74-66 Saturday afternoon.
The only two Blue Devils in Rio who have not yet started competition heading into the second week of the Olympics are women's golfers Leona Maguire and Laetitia Beck. A junior at Duke, Maguire is coming off low amateur honors and a tie for 25th at the Women's British Open. She will represent Ireland when Olympic competition begins Wednesday. A 2014 Duke graduate and member of the Blue Devils' sixth team to win the national championship in 2014, Beck will represent Israel as the country's only player on the LPGA Tour.
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