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Terriers at the Olympics: Mennigen highlights week one in London with gold

It has been a busy week in London for the Olympics, a week that included competition from six different former Boston University athletes. Here is a look at how each of the former Terriers have done so far at the games.

Men’s Rowing

Three BU alumni are participating in the Olympic rowing competition in London this summer. Meindert Klem, who graduated from the College of General Studies in 2007 and the College of Arts and Sciences in 2010, and Jozef Klaassen, who graduated from the School of Management in 2009, will each return to the Olympics from a disappointing fourth-place finish in Beijing to row for the Netherlands’ men’s crew team.

Florian Mennigen, a CAS Class of 2006 alumnus, will return with Team Germany, the eighth-place finishers in the Beijing Olympics.

Klaassen’s men’s eight team finished in third place in each of its preliminary heats, but failed to medal when it finished fifth of six in the final. The team’s time of 5:51.72 was less than one second behind the bronze medalists, Great Britain.

Klem, who was a part of the Netherlands’ men’s two team, finished sixth of six in the semifinal race. Klem will race again Aug. 3.

Mennigen has received undoubtedly the highest honor of all six BU alumni thus far in the London Olympics. His men’s eight team of Germany earned the gold when it defeated other finalists Canada, Great Britain, USA, Netherlands and Australia. Germany’s final time of 5:48.75 edged out Canada by just over a second.

Field Hockey

Ella Gunson, a rising junior in Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, an incoming Boston University transfer student from New Zealand’s Massey University, is a member of this year’s New Zealand Olympic field hockey team. The team began with consecutive wins against Australia and South Africa before falling to Argentina by a score of 2-1. Gunson, a midfielder, has played a total of 113 minutes thus far. New Zealand is scheduled to play the United States this Saturday, Aug. 4 at 2 p.m.

Basketball

Former BU point guard Brett Brown led the terriers to an America East Championship his senior year. Twenty-nine years later, the Metropolitan College alumnus is serving as the head coach of the Australian men’s basketball team.

So far in London, the Australians have suffered defeats to Brazil (75-71) and Spain (82-70). However, Brown and the Aussie Boomers emerged victorious in their most recent game against China by a margin of 81-61. Australia will face Great Britain on Aug. 4 and Russia on Aug. 6.

The women’s basketball team from Great Britain has one BU representative on its roster: Rachael Vanderwal, who graduated from the School of Education in 2006. Vanderwal joined Great Britain’s first Olympic women’s basketball team after becoming the Player of the Year of the Irish Women’s Superleague. Great Britain has started its Olympic stint with three losses, coming at the hands of Australia, Canada and Russia. In the team’s 74-58 loss to Australia, Vanderwal posted nine points and three rebounds in just more than 26 minutes.

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