Volume 94, No.5, September-October 2008


Duke in Beijing

Thrust and parry: Ward fights a losing battle against teammate Mariel Zagunis in the semifinals
Thrust and parry: Ward fights a losing battle against teammate Mariel Zagunis in the semifinals
Jeb Jacobshon / Getty Images

Incoming first-year student Rebecca Ward was the first Blue Devil to take home a medal at the Olympic Games in Beijing. Ward, who joins the university's fencing team on a full athletic scholarship, won the bronze medal in the women's individual saber competition. She and her U.S. teammates, who swept the podium in the event, also won bronze medals in the women's team saber competition.

Mike Krzyzewski, men's basketball coach, was head coach of the U.S. men's basketball team, guiding them to the gold medal against Spain. The win satisfied a three-year mission to shape the "Redeem Team," which was the first to win an international competition since 2000 and which included Carlos Boozer '03. Among other Duke alumni competing or coaching in this year's summer games were Bob Fox J.D. '68, team leader for the U.S. table tennis team; Hiroshi Hoketsu A.M. '68, a Japanese equestrian who was, at age sixty-seven, believed to be the oldest athlete competing; Shannon Rowbury '06, A.M. '08, who placed seventh in the women's 1,500 meter final—the highest an American has ever placed in the event; and Rebecca Smith '03, a starter for New Zealand's women's soccer team.

Ward goes on to defeat Russian Sofiya Velikaya for the bronze
Ward goes on to defeat Russian Sofiya Velikaya for the bronze
AP Images/Petr David Josek

China-born choreographer Shen Wei, whose Shen Wei Dance Arts company debuted at the Duke-based American Dance Festival in 2000 and performed in the most recent ADF season, was lead creative consultant and principal choreographer for the Olympic opening ceremonies.

Learn more about current and past Duke Olympians.