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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

19 Bulldogs in Beijing

From Georgia Athletics Dept:

A total of 19 athletes and coaches with ties to University of Georgia athletics will represent nine different native countries at the 29th Summer Olympic Games, which get underway August 8 in Beijing, China.

Swimmers and divers comprise the vast majority of Bulldogs at the Beijing games. Most prominent among them is the current men’s and women’s head coach, Jack Bauerle, who will serve as head coach of the U.S. Olympic women’s swimming squad. Nine other Georgia swimmers, as well as two divers, will also compete in Beijing.

Seven former Georgia track & field athletes will begin competition Aug. 15 in Beijing. Reigning world champion and U.S. Olympic Trials champion shot putter Reese Hoffa headlines this list. Also included among this group is sprinter Debbie Ferguson, a 2000 Olympic gold medalist for her native Bahamas, and American heptathlete Hyleas Fountain, who will also enter the Beijing games as the current U.S. Olympic Trials champion.

One of the most unusual Olympic competitors will be UGA swimming great Sheila Taormina. A 13-time All-American at Georgia from 1988-91, Taormina won a gold medal in her first Olympics as a member of the U.S. team in the 4x200-meter relay in 1996. Four years later in Sydney, she placed sixth in the first-ever Olympic triathlon for women. Taormina has qualified for the Beijing games in the Modern Pentathlon and therefore, she will become the first American Olympian to compete in three different sports.

The 29th Olympiad will begin Aug. 8 and will conclude with the closing ceremonies on Aug. 24.

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