This post was updated July 25 at 9:47 p.m.
With the 2020 Tokyo Games officially underway, Daily Bruin Sports looks at the 43 Bruin athletes – and handful of coaches – who are currently in Japan representing the blue and gold of UCLA, along with their countries’ colors.
USA: Eric Filia, Jerry Weinstein (assistant coach)
Israel: Zack Weiss
The Bruins won’t be the only thing returning to the Olympics this summer.
The 2020 Summer Olympics will include baseball for the first time since 2008 and only the sixth time since its official debut in 1992.
Two UCLA alumni – outfielder Eric Filia for Team USA and right-hander Zack Weiss for Team Israel – will compete as players for their respective countries. Jerry Weinstein, who played with the Bruins in 1965, will serve as the bench coach for the U.S.
USA Baseball earned a gold medal in the Sydney Olympics in 2000, and two other Bruin alumni, Troy Glaus and Jim Parke, played for the team in 1996 when it won a bronze medal.
Neither Filia nor Weiss have made prior trips to the Olympics, but Weinstein will reprise his Olympic role after being an assistant coach for the U.S. in the 1992 and 1996 Games.
Weiss played for UCLA baseball from 2011-2013 and Filia’s stint with the blue and gold spanned from 2012 to 2016. Filia and Weiss are both currently members of the Tacoma Rainiers, the Seattle Mariners’ triple-A team, but will square off against each other July 30 when Team USA faces Israel.
Six teams will be competing in the baseball tournament, including the U.S., Israel, Japan, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and South Korea. The tournament starts with a group round robin followed by a 10-game knockout round. It finishes with a double-elimination bracket, which culminates in two final teams that play the gold medal game.
Weiss will kick off the competition for the class of former Bruins, with Israel taking on reigning gold medal winner South Korea on July 29.
USA: Jrue Holiday, Zach LaVine
A pair of former Bruin guards will be making their Olympic basketball debuts.
Guard Jrue Holiday – who played for UCLA men’s basketball for one season in 2008-2009 – and guard Zach LaVine – a Bruin in 2013-2014 – will both compete in their first Olympic Games, though both still have experience representing the red, white and blue.
Holiday competed for the 2008 USA Nike Hoop Team before his one year in Westwood and was a member of the 2012 USA Select Team that trained with the Olympic team in preparation for the London Olympics. The Milwaukee Bucks guard also participated in the 2013 USA National Team minicamp.
LaVine is more of a rookie but still represented Team USA in 2016 when he was part of the 2016 USA Select Team during the summer of the Rio Olympics. LaVine is coming off a career year with the Chicago Bulls, putting up 27.4 points per game while making his first All-Star Game.
Forward Kevin Love was also supposed to represent Team USA, but withdrew July 16 after dealing with a calf injury that kept him out for most of the 2020-2021 NBA season with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Team USA is widely expected to win its fourth straight gold medal after going 8-0 with a 22.5 point margin of victory in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
However, the team has already lost two of its exhibition matches, losing to Nigeria and Australia in back-to-back games, and has seen two players leave the team with Love’s withdrawal and guard Bradley Beal affected by health and safety protocols. LaVine was also affected by health and safety protocols but has since been cleared to play.
After beating Spain on July 18, the team finished its exhibition slate with a 2-2 record before flying off to Tokyo on Monday. As the team’s third-leading scorer, LaVine averaged 10.8 points per game in the scrimmages while Holiday did not compete because he was busy winning his first NBA Finals with the Bucks.
Holiday and LaVine will officially begin their run for gold July 25 when they take on France as part of the Group A seeding games. Group A also includes Iran and the Czech Republic.
Serbia: Angela Dugalić
Canada: Nirra Fields
Nigeria: Atonye Nyingifa
For the first time in history, multiple women’s basketball players will be representing UCLA at the Olympics.
After spending her freshman season in Oregon, rising sophomore Angela Dugalić transferred to UCLA in May. Before making her debut in Pauley Pavilion, however, the forward will have the chance to compete for Serbia in Tokyo.
Dugalić, who is one of the youngest basketball players at the Olympics this year at 19 years old, and the Serbian national team are less than a month removed from winning the FIBA Women’s Eurobasket 2021 championship over France. The win marked Serbia’s fourth medal at a major tournament in six years, including a bronze medal in the 2016 Olympics.
The Serbian national team will begin its quest to add another medal with the second game of Group A play against Canada and former Bruin guard Nirra Fields on July 26 at 1:20 a.m.
Fields, who spent four years as a Bruin from 2012-2016, will once again take the court for Canada after competing in Rio in 2016. The guard racked up the fourth-most points and third-most 3-pointers by a Bruin, earning All Pac-12 honors for her senior season before being drafted by the Phoenix Mercury.
Fields and Dugalić are joined in Tokyo by another former Bruin, Atonye Nyingifa.
Nyingifa spent five seasons in Westwood from 2008-2013, although she missed her sophomore season to rehab a knee injury and played just nine games in 2011-2012 because of an ACL tear.
Nyingifa and the Nigerian national team, which qualified for the Olympics for the first time since 2004, will face Team USA on July 26 at 9:40 p.m. as part of Group B play.
Thailand: Patty Tavatanakit
Colombia: Mariajo Uribe
One former Bruin golfer will be making her Olympic debut, while another will be making a return to the Games.
In just the second Olympics ever to include women’s golf, UCLA will be represented by two alums of the program. 2009 graduate Mariajo Uribe will make her second Olympic appearance for Colombia, while Patty Tavatanakit – who competed for the Bruins for two seasons from 2017 to 2019 – will represent Thailand in her first Olympics.
Tavatanakit burst onto the scene at UCLA in the 2017-2018 season, winning the WGCA and Pac-12 Conference Freshman of the Year awards in addition to being named a WGCA First Team All-American. After a second consecutive season as a First Team All-American in 2018-2019, Tavatanakit opted to end her amateur career in favor of the professional tour.
Despite being ranked No. 161 in the world at the end of 2020, Tavatanakit has amassed one major win and five more top-five finishes in just 11 tournaments in 2021. The UCLA record holder for most wins in a season won the ANA Inspiration in April and currently sits at No. 12 in the world heading into the Olympics.
Uribe tied for 19th at the inaugural Olympic women’s golf tournament in Rio with a 3-under 281, including a 5-under 66 in the final round. Like Tavatanakit, Uribe only competed with the Bruins for two seasons, earning First Team All-American honors both years.
With 14 top-10 finishes in 12 years on the LPGA tour, Uribe has amassed more than $2 million in prize money in her career.
Tavatanakit and Uribe are set to tee off at 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 3, with the final round beginning at the same time on Aug. 6.
USA: Jordan Chiles, Emma Malabuyo (alternate)
Canada: Brooklyn Moors
Jamaica: Danusia Francis
It’s been 25 years since a Bruin gymnast didn’t win a medal at the Olympics.
UCLA gymnastics will have four Olympians at the Tokyo Games, upholding a streak of having at least one competitor at every Olympic Games dating back to 1984. Incoming freshmen Jordan Chiles and Emma Malabuyo will represent Team USA, while fellow incoming freshman Brooklyn Moors will compete for Team Canada. Danusia Francis – who was a reserve athlete for Great Britain at the 2012 London Olympics – earned an individual spot representing Jamaica.
With Chiles qualifying as a member of Team USA’s four-person squad, UCLA will have had an athlete compete for Team USA at all six most recent Olympics. Malabuyo qualified as one of the team’s four alternates after a ninth-place finish at the Olympic trials.
The most recent Bruin competitors for Team USA are 2020 graduates Kyla Ross and Madison Kocian, who earned team gold medals in 2012 and 2016, respectively. Team USA is the heavy favorite to make it three gold medals in a row at the team finals on July 27 at 3:45 a.m. Should Team USA earn the top spot, Chiles would join Ross and Kocian as the only gold medalists in UCLA gymnastics history.
While 12 of the 27 Bruin gymnasts to compete at the Olympics have hailed from the U.S., Canada is not far behind with nine Olympians. Moors will be the first Canadian UCLA gymnast to compete at the Olympics in 13 years, though Christine Peng-Peng Lee qualified to the 2012 London Olympics with Team Canada before tearing her ACL two months before the Games.
In 2018, Moors and Team Canada earned the best result in the country’s history with a fourth-place finish at the World Championships.
Francis – a Bruin from 2013 to 2016 – qualified a nominative spot to this year’s Olympics based on her performance in the all-around qualifications of the 2019 World Championships. In four years with UCLA, Francis was a six-time All-American and became the NCAA beam co-champion in her senior season. She hit 133 of her 135 routines in her college career, including a streak of 74 in a row.
Chiles and Francis will begin their Olympics with the qualification round in Subdivision 3 on July 24 at 11:10 p.m., while Moors is scheduled to take to the floor directly after at 1:05 a.m. in Subdivision 4. The team finals, all-around finals and event finals will run through Aug. 3.
France: Marie Jacquet
Great Britain: Saskia Budgett (alternate)
A pair of European Bruins will hit the boats in the Olympics for the first time.
Two UCLA rowing alumni earned bids to the Tokyo Olympics, including Marie Jacquet for France and Saskia Budgett as an alternate for Great Britain. This will be Jacquet and Budgett’s first appearances at an Olympic Games, but the second Olympics in a row that the Bruins have sent alumni to the event.
Jacquet will compete in the women’s quadruple sculls, an event consisting of two heats, a repechage and two final events ending July 28.
A three-year rower for the Bruins from 2014-2017, Jacquet rowed on UCLA’s varsity eight crew throughout her career and earned first-team All-Pac-12 selections for her final two seasons. The Chalon-sur-Saone, France, native qualified to the Olympics with a second-place finish in the 2021 World Rowing Final Olympic Qualification Regatta, where the top two finishers earned a bid to Tokyo.
Budgett and Jacquet were teammates on the varsity eight crew for two seasons, as Budgett rowed for the Bruins as a port on the varsity eight crew from 2016-2019. The Switzerland native earned All-Pac-12 honors twice in her career and second-team All-American honors for her senior season.
In April, Budgett claimed third place with her partner Holly Nixon in the women’s double sculls final at the 2021 European Rowing Championships. Budgett has only rowed for Great Britain’s senior team for two years after making her debut in 2019, but might have the opportunity to row on the world’s biggest stage starting Friday.
Olympic rowing began Friday with three days of initial competition followed by three days of medal events.
USA: Abby Dahlkemper, Sam Mewis
Canada: Jessie Fleming
Australia: Teagan Micah
Sam Mewis and Abby Dahlkemper were teammates with the Bruins from 2011-2014 and with three different professional teams over the last seven years.
In 2021, they’ll get to take on their first Olympics together.
With four former UCLA women’s soccer players set to compete for three different nations in Tokyo, the Bruins will be represented at the Olympics for the seventh consecutive time since the sport was introduced to the Games in 1996. In addition to Mewis and Dahlkemper, Teagan Micah – who started for four years at UCLA from 2016-2019 – will suit up in goal for Australia, while Jessie Fleming – a Bruin midfielder from 2016-2019 – will attempt to add a second Olympic medal to her collection with Canada.
After leading UCLA to its only national championship in program history in 2013, Dahlkemper and Mewis were both named Honda Award winners, with the former taking home the award in 2013 and the latter in 2014. In 2020, Mewis was named the U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year.
Mewis, Dahlkemper and Team USA will be the favorites to take home the gold after being left off the podium at the 2016 Rio Olympics. But it will be an uphill climb for Team USA, which fell 3-0 to Sweden – the same team that knocked the U.S. out of contention for a medal in 2016 – in its opening game of group play Wednesday.
The U.S. concludes group play with a 1 a.m. matchup against Micah and Australia on July 27. Micah made her international debut for Australia in an exhibition against Sweden last month, followed by an appearance in a friendly matchup against Japan. In both games, Micah – who sits third all-time at UCLA with 36 shutouts – did not concede a goal.
The lone Bruin not competing in Group G, Fleming will have the opportunity to defend Canada’s bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Fleming – who is just the third UCLA women’s soccer player to ever earn four first-team All-Pac-12 honors – recently won the FA League Cup and the Women’s Super League Championship with Chelsea FC.
Each competing nation will play their final two group stage games July 24 and July 27 with the tournament wrapping up Aug. 5.
USA: Ally Carda, Tairia Flowers (assistant coach), Rachel Garcia, Bubba Nickles, Delaney Spaulding
After 13 years, softball has returned to the Olympics with a couple of Bruins to boot.
For the first time since the 2008 Beijing Games, softball will be represented in the Olympics and will feature several UCLA softball alumni. Team USA’s right-handed pitchers/infielders Ally Carda and Rachel Garcia along with utility player Bubba Nickles and infielder Delaney Spaulding will be among the four Bruins competing in the Olympics, the most of any college on the 15-player team.
Carda, who graduated from UCLA in 2015, was a two-time Pac-12 Player of the Year with back-to-back 32-win seasons in the circle. During her senior season, Carda was named to the U.S. Softball Women’s National Team for the first time and represented the country in the Pan American Games.
Garcia is coming off her final season for the Bruins in which she became the first ever two-time outright Honda Cup winner and previously helped Team USA secure gold in the 2018 WBSC Women’s World Championship. The two-way player originally sat out the 2020 season in preparation for the Olympics but suited up for another year after the Tokyo Games were postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like Garcia, Nickles completed her undergraduate career last month, but she will be returning to UCLA as a graduate student. The two were on UCLA’s championship-winning team in 2019 and took the 2020 season off after being named to Team USA. In 2015, Nickles joined Carda in the World Cup of Softball X.
The last Bruin on the list – Spaulding – played with both Garcia and Nickles for a season in 2017 as the three’s collegiate tenures overlapped. The Bruin from 2014-2017 began her U.S. Women’s National Team career in 2016 and will join her former UCLA teammates in their Olympic debuts.
As the No. 1 ranked team in the tournament, Team USA will have the opportunity to recapture the gold medal back from the host country, Japan, which ended a U.S. streak of three consecutive first-place finishes in the 2008 Olympics. The U.S. will take on Japan in the country’s final opening round-robin game July 25 at 6:00 p.m.
Swim and Dive
Singapore: Ting Wen Quah (swimming, 50-meter and 100-meter free)
Great Britain: Eden Cheng (diving, 10-meter synchronized)
Russian Olympic Committee: Maria Polyakova (diving, 3-meter)
The blue and gold’s first-ever Olympic medal was earned by a diver.
This year, two Bruin divers will have the chance to carry on a legacy that began with Farid Simaika’s silver and bronze performances in 1928.
UCLA swim and dive will see athletes from both sides of the sport at the Tokyo Olympics, with one former Bruin competing in swimming and a pair of Bruins participating in diving. The program has seen athletes at every Olympic Games since 1960, except for 1980.
Ting Wen Quah will represent Singapore in swimming in the women’s 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle for her third career trip to the Olympics after competing in both 2008 and 2016.
Quah interrupted her Olympic appearances with a three-year stint at UCLA, spending 2011-2014 in Westwood before returning to the games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Incoming freshman Eden Cheng will participate in the women’s 10-meter synchronized diving event for Great Britain, her last professional competition before joining the collegiate ranks at UCLA. Cheng signed a national letter of intent with the Bruins in June after securing her bid to the Tokyo games, which she earned at the 2021 FINA World Cup with a silver medal in 10-meter synchronized diving.
Russian diver Maria Polyakova – competing in the 3-meter dive in her first trip to the Olympics – rounds out the trio of Bruins heading to Tokyo for swim and dive. A highly decorated Bruin, Polyakova dove for UCLA from 2016-2019 and rounded out her college career winning UCLA’s first-ever national championship in women’s diving.
At the Russian Olympic Trials, Polyakova secured a first-place finish in the women’s 3-meter dive and bested the second-place diver by 13.70 points.
Swimming will begin July 24, with medal events July 30 for women’s 100-meter freestyle and Aug. 1 for women’s 50-meter freestyle. Cheng will compete July 27 for the women’s synchronized 10-meter platform medal event, while Polyakova’s medal event will take place Aug. 1.
USA: Jennifer Brady (singles), Marcos Giron (singles)
Japan: Ena Shibahara (doubles)
Netherlands: Jean-Julien Rojer (doubles)
The blue and gold will be well represented on the courts this summer.
Four former Bruins will be competing in tennis at the 2020 Olympics with two each from UCLA women’s and UCLA men’s tennis. Additionally, two will compete with Team USA and the others for the Netherlands and Japan, while two will compete in doubles and two will compete in singles play.
Ena Shibahara will represent Japan with Shuko Aoyama as the No. 2 seed in the doubles competition. Shibahara is the only former Bruin to represent the host country in the Olympics.
Shibahara competed for UCLA in the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 seasons and earned All-American status both years, and she also played doubles with recently graduated Jada Hart in 2017 en route to a 53-10 career doubles mark.
The second UCLA women’s tennis alum headed to Tokyo is Jennifer Brady, who earned a bid in the singles tournament for the United States and will be the No. 11 seed. Brady also spent two years in Westwood, which included the team’s second program NCAA championship, and she is coming off of an Australian Open finals appearance in February.
On the men’s side, Jean-Julien Rojer will be the only Bruin from the Netherlands competing in the Olympics this summer. Rojer will be making his third consecutive Olympic appearance after participating in the 2012 and 2016 games and is also the only former Bruin to have Olympic tennis experience.
As the No. 8 seed, Rojer will partner with Wesley Koolhof to compete in the doubles tournament.
Lastly, Marcos Giron will make his Olympic debut in the singles tournament for the United States. Giron spent three years with the Bruins from 2012-2014 and won the NCAA men’s singles tournament in his final year in Westwood.
Tennis at the Olympics will include men’s and women’s doubles and singles as well as mixed doubles competition. Singles brackets span six rounds, while doubles consist of five. Competition will begin July 24 and last through Aug. 1.
Track and Field
USA: Shae Anderson (mixed 4×400-meter relay pool), Rai Benjamin (400-meter hurdle)
Grenada: Meleni Rodney (400-meter sprint)
Norway: Sondre Guttormsen (pole vault)
Four of the most decorated UCLA track and field athletes in recent history will try to add an Olympic medal to their trophy cases.
During the 2021 NCAA championships in June, rising redshirt senior sprinter Shae Anderson and recently graduated sprinter Meleni Rodney made up half of the 4×400-meter relay team that smashed the school record by 2.5 seconds en route to the eighth-fastest time in collegiate history. Just a couple months later, the pair will be representing the U.S. and Grenada, respectively, on the track.
Anderson, who is the first returning UCLA track and field athlete to qualify for the Olympics in almost a decade, has had a historic two years with the Bruins after transferring from Oregon in 2019, setting a school record in the indoor 4×400 relay and top-10 performances in the 200-meter and 400-meter hurdle.
During the Olympic Trials, Anderson put up a lifetime best of 50.84 in the 400-meter – the second fastest time in UCLA history – to become one of just two collegians to qualify for finals. After coming in eighth in the final round, the sprinter was selected to the 400-meter relay pool for the U.S. and will make her Olympic debut July 30 at 4 a.m.
Rodney put up a historic season of her own in her final year as a Bruin, winning the 400-meter competition in the Stanford Invitational, West Coast Classic and finishing second in the Pac-12 championships.
The Grenada native will follow up her collegiate career with an appearance in Tokyo, competing in the 400-meter beginning Aug. 2 at 5:45 p.m.
Anderson and Rodney are joined in Tokyo by sprinter Rai Benjamin and pole vaulter Sondre Guttormsen, both of whom transferred out of UCLA after one season with the team.
Benjamin, who holds the third fastest 400-meter hurdle time in history, earned first-team All-American honors as a freshman in 2016 before transferring to crosstown rival USC. Guttormsen – the UCLA pole vault record holder – also spent just one season in Westwood as a true freshman in 2019 before transferring to Princeton.
USA: Karch Kiraly (women’s volleyball head coach), Garrett Muagututia (men’s volleyball), John Speraw (men’s volleyball head coach), Sarah Sponcil (women’s beach volleyball), Mitch Stahl (men’s volleyball)
Volleyball is rooted in UCLA’s history, and the Olympics are no different.
Three former Bruins will be making their Olympic debut this year in Tokyo, continuing a quadrennial volleyball tradition dating back to the 1984 Los Angeles Games. All three will represent Team USA, with one taking the sand for women’s beach volleyball and the other two hitting the court for men’s volleyball.
Sarah Sponcil, who played for UCLA women’s volleyball and beach volleyball from 2017-2019, will team up with former USC athlete Kelly Claes. At age 24 and 25, respectively, the No. 6 internationally ranked team is the youngest in U.S. Olympic history.
The decorated duo each won back-to-back NCAA beach volleyball championships for their respective schools, including Sponcil’s consecutive titles in 2018 and 2019 with the Bruins.
Indoors, men’s outside hitter Garrett Muagututia and middle blocker Mitch Stahl will team up in pursuit of the No. 5 ranked United States’ first Olympic gold medal since 2008. The two former Bruins will join the team under the tutelage of Team USA head coach John Speraw, another former Bruin and the current UCLA men’s volleyball coach.
Muagututia, who competed for the blue and gold from 2007-2010, was an Olympic alternate in 2016 and was part of the 2014 Team USA FIVB World Championship squad. Stahl, who was coached by Speraw at the collegiate level from 2014-2017, trained with the U.S. Men’s Junior National Team in 2012 and will compete alongside Muagututia in their first Olympic games.
Bruin Olympic volleyball will commence July 24, when Team USA takes on No. 4 ranked Team France. On the sand, Sponcil will face the No. 23 ranked duo in Latvia’s Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravčenoka as part of Pool D’s preliminary games July 25. Former UCLA men’s volleyball player and all-time Olympic great Karch Kiraly will seek to lead Team USA women’s volleyball to gold as head coach.
USA: Rachel Fattal (women’s water polo), Max Irving (men’s water polo), Adam Krikorian (women’s water polo head coach), Maddie Musselman (women’s water polo), Alys Williams (women’s water polo), Alex Wolf (men’s water polo)
Australia: Bronte Halligan
Former Bruins have won 35 Olympic medals in water polo dating back to 1972.
Despite women’s water polo not having been added as an Olympic sport until 2000, 23 of those medals can be attributed to the women’s squad.
In 2021, UCLA men’s and women’s water polo will have the opportunity to add seven more medals. On the women’s side, Maddie Musselman, Rachel Fattal and Alys Williams will compete for Team USA with former Bruin coach Adam Krikorian at the helm while Bronte Halligan will compete for Australia. Max Irving and Alex Wolf – both members of Team USA – represent the lone competitors from the men’s program.
Team USA women’s water polo will attempt to defend its back-to-back gold medals from 2012 and 2016. With two gold medals, two silver medals and one bronze medal, the U.S. is the only country to medal in all five Olympics since the addition of women’s water polo.
Musselman – who competed at UCLA from 2017-2019 but still maintains collegiate eligibility – and Fattal – a Bruin from 2013-2017 – were both members of the 2016 gold medal team. The 2016 squad had a total of six former Bruins with Fattal and Musselman contributing four and 12 goals, respectively.
Krikorian – who won 15 NCAA championships as both a player and a coach with UCLA men’s and women’s water polo – was the head coach of Team USA women’s water polo for both gold medals in 2012 and 2016 after leading UCLA women’s water polo to five consecutive NCAA championships.
Halligan is a first-time Olympian for Australia, which won the first gold medal in the sport’s Olympic history at the 2000 Sydney Games and has subsequently added two more medals in 2008 and 2012.
On the other hand, Team USA men’s water polo will attempt to claim just its second Olympic medal since 1988, which came courtesy of the current coach of both UCLA men’s and women’s water polo, Adam Wright, who won the silver medal as a player with Team USA at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Irving and Wolf will both be competing in their first Olympic Games after winning a total of five NCAA championships with the Bruins between 2014 and 2017.
Team USA women’s water polo will kick off the water polo competition at the Games on July 23 with a 10:00 p.m. matchup against Japan followed by Halligan’s Australia squad matching up against Team Canada. Irving and Wolf will take to the pool July 24 at 10:00 p.m. for a contest against the host nation.