Notre Dame Fighting Irish Olympic Athletes Make an Impact

My buddies have always thought that having me get to talk to and be with Notre Dame football players every week was a pretty cool way to make a living, and they’re right.

I am truly fortunate to hear and share the stories of these fabulous student-athletes who represent the most famous college football program in the world.

But as I reflected on this week over the Thanksgiving holiday and recounted all the people I’ve met and the places I’ve been on Notre Dame beat, I’ve realized that my exciting career opportunities aren’t exclusive. in Irish football.

As part of my coverage of Olympic sports for Illustrated blue and gold, I also met some of the most remarkable and inspiring young men and women in the country who are not called Brady Quinn, Ian Book or Kyren Williams.

Two-time Irish women’s football captain sammy fisher is finishing her master’s degree in nonprofit administration and plans to return home to Los Angeles after a professional football career to get involved and help alleviate the city’s homelessness crisis.

Graduate student Yared Nuguse, an American Olympian and NCAA record holder in the 1,500 meters, is one of many Irish athletes grateful for the opportunity to return to Notre Dame for another year of camaraderie and competition after the isolation of a pandemic year. (Courtesy of Notre Dame Athletics)

Notre Dame Golfer Laurent Beaudreau is an American academic star who plans to become a television golf analyst when his LPGA career is over.

Nuguse Yared – an Irish cross-country star, national long-distance running champion and All-ACC varsity artist – graduated in the spring but put his dentistry on hold so he could return to Notre Dame as a graduate student and compete for one more year.

Nuguse turned that decision into a second straight ACC outdoor championship in the 1,500 meters and a spot last summer on the U.S. Olympic team in Tokyo.

These three are a tiny sample of the remarkable, unique and dedicated student-athletes I have had the good fortune to meet and share stories with.

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While many athletes in ticketed sports such as football and basketball are often eager to leave campus, Nuguse is one of many Irish Olympic athletes who were eager to return for another year of school and sport after the NCAA provided additional eligibility due to the pandemic.

“My time at Notre Dame meant the world to me,” Nuguse explained in retrospect. “And being isolated because of COVID made me realize how much more it really meant. I wanted to come back and leave on a good note, because I knew that moment was coming and I wouldn’t have that anymore. I will really miss my team and all the friendships I made here. »

Charley Niego – a Notre Dame women’s volleyball star who will graduate in May as a four-time All-ACC winner and one of the most accomplished players in Irish history – explained that she wishes her time and his legacy here are measured by his personal growth off the pitch more than his thousands of victims and digs into it.

“The most important thing that I want to be remembered after my time at Notre Dame is just to be a good person and a good teammate to everyone,” Niego explained. “After that, I also want to be remembered as a player who helped change the culture of Notre Dame and made Notre Dame volleyball what it is today and in the future. ‘to come up.”

Irish junior golfer Jackson Palm – high school National Honor Society member and All-ACC Academic Team winner – specializes in business analysis, knowing that when his professional pursuits end as a player, he’ll be ready for life beyond birdies.

“I try to become as complete as possible while I’m here and take advantage of all the opportunities Notre Dame gives me,” he said. “I realize and appreciate that my experiences in golf here will open more doors for me later.”

The unexpected death in April of Lou Somogyi — our esteem Illustrated blue and gold editor, colleague, mentor and dear friend — gave me a new perspective on life and work when he left us.

As part of his weekly routine, Lou would step away from his Irish football duties and brief staff on all the other important games, fixtures and matches taking place on campus which were not going to attract the attention that they deserved.

Lou freely admitted and always insisted that just because we don’t have the space in the magazine to adequately celebrate these often anonymous and always unheralded student-athletes, the special young men and women who compete in these secondary sports are much more than a cover page. news, they are actually the fabric of Notre Dame.

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