Orange, Blue … and Gold?

Sports Illustrated picks Leah Smith, a rising fourth-year student, to win three medals in Rio.
August 01, 2016

A few of the athletes who will begin their pursuit of gold, silver and bronze medals this week at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil have some orange and blue in their backgrounds.

In fact, the University of Virginia is expected to have 19 representatives in Rio, representing the U.S. and six other countries in field hockey, rowing, soccer, swimming, tennis and track and field.

Two will be coaching: Cavalier head women’s rowing coach Kevin Sauer is an assistant on the U.S. rowing staff, and women’s soccer head coach Steve Swanson will assist with the U.S. women’s team. Another UVA coach, Kemal Mesic, who coaches the throwers in UVA’s track and field program, will be competing in the shot put, representing Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Also, Ashley Stern, a docoral student in kinesiology in the Curry School of Education, is working with the U.S. swim team as an athletic trainer.

With NBC, its affiliates and online outlets offering a whopping 6,755 hours of Olympic coverage between Aug. 3 and 21, dedicated Cavalier fans should be able to catch more than a few glimpses of their favorite athletes on the sporting world’s largest stage.

Here’s a guide to ’Hoos in Rio:

Michelle Vittese and Paige Selenski (alternate)
Sport: Field Hockey
Representing: U.S.

At UVA: Vittese, a 2013 graduate, was a three-time All-American and the 2012 U.S. Field Hockey National Player of the year. Selenski, also a 2013 graduate, was a four-time All-American.

Since graduating: Vittese will be making her second Olympics appearance and has appeared in 150 international matches. Selenski is an alternate this year after playing on the 2012 Olympic team; she has appeared in 137 international matches and was part of U.S. teams that won gold medals at the 2011 and 2015 Pan American Games.

Medal prospects: The U.S. is ranked fifth in the world by the International Hockey Federation. Sports Illustrated forecasts no medals in Rio for the Americans, but it should be noted that the U.S. knocked off SI’s gold-medal favorite, Argentina, to win the gold medal at the 2015 Pan Am Games.

When to watch (all times EDT): Pool play on Aug. 6, 4 p.m. vs. Argentina; Aug. 8, 9 a.m. vs. Australia; Aug. 10, 4 p.m. vs. Japan; and Aug. 13, 5 p.m. vs. Great Britain. Quarterfinals will be played Aug. 15 at 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Semifinals are set for Aug. 17 at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. The bronze-medal match is Aug. 19 at 11 a.m., with the gold-medal match following at 4 p.m.

Susanne Grainger and Christine Roper
Sport: Rowing (women’s eight)
Representing: Canada

At UVA: A 2013 graduate, Grainger was a second-team All-American in 2013. A 2011 graduate, Roper also was a second-team All-American in 2011.

Since graduating: Both are three-time medalists representing Canada in the World Rowing Championships.

Medal prospects: Sports Illustrated predicts Canada will not medal in Rio.

When to watch (all times EDT): Aug. 8, 7:30 a.m., preliminary heats. Aug. 10, 7:30 a.m., repechage. Aug. 13, 7:50 a.m., final.

Inge Janssen
Sport: Rowing (women’s quad sculls)
Representing: Netherlands

At UVA: A 2010 graduate, she was part of the 2010 NCAA champion varsity four.

Since graduating: She’ll be making her second Olympic appearance, and earned a bronze medal in the women’s quad at the 2015 World Rowing Championships.

Medal prospects: Sports Illustrated predicts no medals for The Netherlands in Rio.

When to watch (all times EDT): Aug. 6, 7:30 a.m., preliminary heats. Aug. 8, 7:30 a.m., repechage. Aug. 10, 7:30 a.m., final.

Matt Miller
Sport: Rowing (men’s four)
Representing: U.S.

At UVA: A 2011 graduate, he was a four-year rower for the UVA men’s club team.

Since graduating: Miller twice competed as a member of the U.S. men’s eight in the World Rowing Championships.

Medal prospects: Sports Illustrated predicts a silver medal for the Americans.

When to watch (all times EDT): Aug. 7, 7:30 a.m., preliminary heats. Aug 8, 7:30 a.m., repechage. Aug. 10, 7:30 a.m., semifinals. Aug. 12, 7:30 a.m., final.

Meghan O’Leary
Sport: Rowing (women’s double sculls)
Representing: U.S.

At UVA: A 2008 alumna, O’Leary participated in two sports at UVA, but neither was rowing. She played volleyball and softball.

Since graduating: O’Leary took up rowing only after graduation, and will be making her first Olympic appearance. She has twice been an “A” finalist in the women’s double sculls at the World Rowing Championships.

Medal prospects: Sports Illustrated predicts no medals in Rio.

When to watch (all times EDT): Aug. 6, 7:30 a.m., preliminary heats. Aug. 7, 7:30 a.m., repechage. Aug. 9, 7:30 a.m., semifinals. Aug. 11, 7:30 a.m., final.

Morgan Brian, Becky Sauerbrunn and Emily Sonnett (alternate)
Sport: Women’s soccer
Representing: U.S.

At UVA: Brian, a 2014 graduate, was a three-time All-American and twice won the MAC Hermann Trophy as the nation’s top collegiate player. Sauerbrunn, a 2007 alumna, was also a three-time All-American. Sonnett (an alternate), who graduated in May, was the 2015 ESPNW National Player of the Year and was the first overall pick in the 2016 National Women’s Soccer League draft.

Since graduating: Brian has played in 53 international matches for the U.S., scoring four goals. Sauerbrunn is a mainstay of the U.S. national team and a team captain, has made 107 international appearances and will be playing in her second Olympics. Sonnett has already made nine international appearances.

Medal prospects: Sports Illustrated declared the Americans gold-medal favorites.

When to watch (all times EDT): Pool play Aug. 3, 6 p.m. vs. New Zealand; Aug. 6, 4 p.m. vs. France; and Aug. 9, 6 p.m. vs. Colombia. Quarterfinals on Aug. 12 at noon, 3 p.m., 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Semifinals on Aug. 16 at noon and 3 p.m. Bronze-medal match Aug. 19 at noon; gold-medal match Aug. 19 at 4:30 p.m.

Yannick Kaeser
Sport: Swimming (men’s 100- and 200-meter breaststroke)
Representing: Switzerland

At UVA: A 2016 graduate, he will be making his second Olympic appearance. He was a four-time All-American at UVA.

Since graduating: He holds the Swiss national records in both of his breaststroke events.

Medal prospects: His best times in the 100 and 200 rank 80th and 63rd in the world this year. Sports Illustrated predicts no medals in Rio.

When to watch (all times EDT): Aug. 6, noon, 100 breaststroke preliminary heats. Aug. 6, 9 p.m., 100 semifinals. Aug. 7, 9 p.m., 100 final. Aug. 9, noon, 200 preliminary heats. Aug. 9, 9 p.m., 200 semifinals. Aug. 10, 9 p.m., 200 final.

Leah Smith
Sport: Swimming (women’s 400- and 800-meter freestyle, 4x200-meter freestyle relay
Representing: U.S.

At UVA: A rising fourth-year student, Smith already owns four NCAA individual championships, winning the 500- and 1,650-yard freestyle events in both 2015 and 2016.

Off Grounds: Won a gold medal with the U.S. 4x200 free relay team at the 2015 FINA World Championships.

Medal prospects: She shares her two individual events with perhaps the most dominant female swimmer in the world, U.S. teammate Katie Ledecky. Sports Illustrated predicts a silver in the 200, bronze in the 400 and a gold medal in the relay.

When to watch (all times EDT): Aug. 7, noon, 400 freestyle preliminary heats. Aug. 7, 9 p.m., 400 freestyle final. Aug. 10, noon, 4x200 freestyle relay heats. Aug. 10, 9 p.m., 4x200 freestyle relay final. Aug. 11, noon, 800 freestyler preliminary heats. Aug. 12, 9 p.m., 800 freestyle final.

Dominic Inglot
Sport: Tennis (men’s doubles)
Representing: Great Britain

At UVA: A 2009 graduate, Inglot was a three-time All-American.

Since graduating: Inglot is ranked No. 30 in the world in the Association of Tennis Professionals rankings for doubles. He was a member of Britain’s 2015 Davis Cup champion team.

Medal prospects: Sports Illustrated predicts Inglot and partner Colin Fleming (ranked No. 53 in doubles) will not win a medal.

When to watch (all times EDT): The official draw will be held Aug. 4. First-round matches will be played Aug. 6 and 7, the second round on Aug. 8, quarterfinals on Aug. 9, the semifinals on Aug. 10, and the bronze- (11 a.m.) and gold-medal (3 p.m.) matches on Aug. 12.

Robby Andrews
Sport: Track & field (1,500-meter run)
Representing: U.S.

At UVA: A 2014 graduate, he won NCAA championships in the 800-meter run in 2010 (indoors) and 2011 (outdoors).

Since graduating: He placed fourth in the 1,500 meters and the 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships.

Medal prospects: Sports Illustrated predicts no medal for Andrews, whose top time in 2016 ranks 27th in the world.

When to watch (all times EDT): Aug. 16, 8:30 a.m., first round. Aug. 18, 6:20 p.m., semifinal. Aug. 20, 7:10 p.m., final.

Kemal Mesic and Filip Mihaljevic
Sport: Track & field (men’s shot put)
Representing: Mesic: Bosnia and Herzegovina; Mihaljevic: Croatia

At UVA: Mesic is UVA’s throws coach. Mihaljevic, a rising fourth-year student, won the NCAA championship this spring.

Off Grounds: Mesic will be making his second Olympic appearance and has twice qualified to represent Bosnia and Herzegovina at the IAAF World Championship; he was a five-time, first-team All-American at the University of Florida. Mihaljevic won a bronze medal at the 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships.

Medal prospects: Sports Illustrated predicts neither will earn a medal in Rio; Mesic’s top throw this year ranks 23rd in the world, while Mihaljevic’s best this year ranks 25th.

When to watch (all times EDT): Aug. 18, 8:55 a.m., men’s shot put qualifying; 5:35 p.m., men’s shot put final.

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