What to watch for: Duke's 12 2016 Olympians ready for competition

<p>Medical student and 2012 silver medalist Abby Johnston and Duke diving head coach Nunzio Esposto are two of the University's 12 Olympians this year.</p>

Medical student and 2012 silver medalist Abby Johnston and Duke diving head coach Nunzio Esposto are two of the University's 12 Olympians this year.

With the opening ceremony of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics scheduled for Friday, we take a look at the 12 Blue Devils who will compete and where applicable, how they have fared this summer. For the Chronicle's full preview of the Olympic trials process from early June, click here.

Men's basketball

Mike Krzyzewski

The U.S. national men's basketball team rolled through each of its exhibition games in advance of the Olympics. Krzyzewski's team outscored its opponents by an average margin of 43.0 points per game, going 5-0 and dominating in all facets of the game, shooting nearly 50 percent from the field and out-rebounding opponents by 21.4 boards per contest.

The 69-year old head coach is attempting to become the first head coach ever to win three gold medals, with his team opening group play against China Saturday evening.

Jeff Capel

Capel has served as an assistant coach for the men's national team as it dominated its exhibition series leading up to the Olympics. The Duke associate head coach was also joined by Blue Devil assistants Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith at the United States' pre-Olympics training camp in Las Vegas.

Capel will be coaching in his first Olympics after helping the U.S. win the 2014 FIBA World Cup as a court coach and scout.

Kyrie Irving

In the Americans' exhibition series, Irving has split starting duties at point guard with Toronto guard Kyle Lowry, with Irving starting three of five contests and Lowry the other two. Irving ranks sixth on the team in scoring—with a pair of Golden State Warriors, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, leading the way—but at 3.8 assists per game, Irving trails only Lowry.

The former Duke standout was a crucial piece to Cleveland's NBA title run in June and will make his Olympic debut this weekend. A minor thigh injury kept Irving out of the final exhibition, but the 24-year old should be ready to go Saturday against China.

Women's basketball

Lindsey Harding

Representing Belarus, Harding needed to star for her team to simply qualify for her first Olympics and the first for a former Duke women's basketball player. In the FIBA qualifying tournament, Belarus advanced past the group stage, but lost in the quarterfinals to China, meaning that it would have to win two more games to secure a spot in Rio. Harding was up to the task, however, as the tournament's sixth-leading scorer carried her team to a a pair of victories against Argentina and South Korea.

The 5-foot-8 guard and 2007 graduate finished with averages of 13.8 points and four assists per game in Belarus' five qualification games, logging the second-most total minutes of any player in the tournament. 

Women's golf

Laetitia Beck

During the past two months, Israel's lone representative in either the men's or women's golf tournament has struggled to perform on the LPGA Tour. Beck has failed to make the cut of a single event since the LPGA Volvik Championship in late May, when she finished tied for 65th place.

At last weekend's Ricoh Women's British Open, she posted a 2-over-par 146 in two rounds at Woburn Golf Club in Milton Keynes, England. The 2014 national champion was a four-time All-ACC performer at Duke and will continue representing Israel in Rio de Janeiro. 

Leona Maguire

Unlike her fellow Blue Devil women's golfer in Rio de Janeiro, the Cavan, Ireland, native and Duke junior had a successful weekend in England, finishing tied for 25th place at the Ricoh Women's British Open. Maguire entered the final round tied for 10th, but struggled to close on Sunday, shooting a 3-over-par 75 on her last 18 holes.

It was a positive weekend for Maguire nonetheless, as her 4-under-par total for the tournament made her the top amateur after she was cut from her only other two LPGA Tour events this season.


Ibtihaj Muhammad

As the eighth-ranked women's saber in the world, Muhammad will head to Rio with a legitimate shot at earning her first Olympic medal after making history as the first American to compete while wearing a hijab. A three-time NCAA All-American who graduated from Duke in 2007, the Maplewood, N.J., native will compete beginning Monday in the women's individual saber competition.

Muhammad will then return to competition Aug. 13 when she participates in the team saber competition. Her Olympic debut comes after she captured a bronze model at the Athens World Cup in January. The former Blue Devil finished second to only 22-time medalist Michael Phelps for the honor of flag-bearer for team USA at Friday's opening ceremony. 

Women's soccer

Rebecca Quinn

Representing Canada, the senior defender and midfielder saw relatively limited action off the bench in her team's friendly matches leading up to the Olympics but played 67 minutes in the team's Olympic-opening shutout win Wednesday. In exhibition action Quinn played just 23 minutes on June 7 against Brazil and played the entire second half against China on July 20.

The Duke star will likely be a reserve for a majority of the Olympic tournament, but given her experience with the Canadian women's national team, Quinn has the chance to play a role in the world No. 10 team's run for an Olympic medal.


Abby Johnston

The Duke alumna and current medical school student has been a featured member of the U.S. Diving team in the past few weeks. She has discussed the changes in her medical school plans to make the Rio games a priority and will look to become the first American woman to medal as an individual on the 3-meter platform since 1988. Johnston won a silver medal in the synchronized 3-meter event in 2012. 

Nunzio Esposto

The Duke diving head coach will travel to Rio to coach Johnston and is also part of the U.S. coaching staff. In a sport dominated by China, the U.S. is hoping to build on its 2012 performance in which Johnston and partner Kelci Brooks ended a 12-year medal drought for the country in all diving events and won America's first medal ever in synchronized diving. On the men's side, David Boudia won a gold medal as in individual on the 10-meter platform.

Women's field hockey

Stefanie Fee

The 26-year old defender will be a critical piece of Team USA as it heads to Rio in search of gold. Fee and the American defense allowed just four goals in its three warm-up matches before the team travels to Brazil. A 2011 Duke graduate, Fee is the first Blue Devil to compete in field hockey at the Olympics. The No. 5 U.S. team will look to pull off a few upsets on its way to a medal.

Track and field

Shannon Rowbury

At the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., Rowbury finished as the runner-up in the women's 1,500 meters to qualify for her third straight Olympics. Her time of 4:05.39 was less than a half second behind first-place finisher Jenny Simpson. Her lone event at the Olympics will take place Aug. 12 at the Olympic Stadium in Rio. Rowbury finished seventh in the event in 2008 and sixth in 2012. 


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