The 2008 Beijing Olympics run from Aug. 8-24
Aug. 8, 2008
BEIJING, China - The University of Illinois is well represented at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, which kick-off today with the opening ceremonies. Seven current or former Fighting Illini will be representing five different countries in six different sports at the Games.
Two current Fighting Illini seniors, Emily Zurrer (Canada, soccer) and Gakologelwang Masheto (Botswana, track & field), will be competing in Beijing. Zurrer and the Canadian Soccer Team have already gotten underway with a 2-1 victory over Argentina on Aug. 6, while Masheto will run in the 400m dash preliminary heats on Aug. 18.
Two former Illinois athletes, Justin Spring (gymnastics) and Deron Williams (basketball), will be competing for the United States in Beijing. Spring, a 2006 Illinois graduate and current UI assistant coach, and the U.S. men's gymnastics team get things started on Aug. 9 with the team prelims. Williams, who helped lead Illinois to the 2005 NCAA Championship game, and the U.S. men's basketball team play their first game on Aug. 10 against China.
In addition to those four, Kevin Anderson (South Africa, tennis), Susanna Kallur (Sweden, track & field) and Chris Robinson (Canada, baseball), will all be representing their home countries at the Beijing Games. Anderson, who competed for the Orange and Blue from 2005-07, will be playing in both the singles and doubles draw beginning Aug. 10. Kallur, the world record holder in the 60m hurdles who competed for the Illini from 2001-02, will be running in the 100m hurdles beginning Aug. 17. Robinson and the Canadian baseball team, meanwhile, will get things underway on Aug. 13 against China. Robinson was an All-Big Ten catcher for the Orange and Blue from 2003-05.
Complete list of Fighting Illini Athletes in the Beijing Olympics:
Kevin Anderson - South Africa, Tennis
Susanna Kallur - Sweden, Track
Gakologelwang Masheto - Botswana, Track
Chris Robinson - Canada, Baseball
Justin Spring - United States, Gymnastics
Deron Williams - United States, Basketball
Emily Zurrer - Canada, Soccer
In addition to the seven athletes, three other Fighting Illini traveled to Beijing in other roles. Men's gymnastics Associate Head Coach Jon Valdez made the trip as Spring's personal coach, former Illinois gymnast Butch Zunich will serve as a floor exercise judge for the men's gymnastics competitions and athletic trainer Randy Ballard is working with USA Track & Field in Beijing.