UCLA Spotlight

UCLA's Olympic Athletes

  • Published Aug 1, 2004 8:00 AM

The scenes, the names and the faces are familiar to UCLA sports fans. But no longer do these Bruins wear the blue and gold. Now 37 of them don the red, white and blue of the U.S. Olympic team, as competitors or alternates.


From left to right: Brandon Brooks, Stacey Nuveman, Mohini Bhardwaj, Sheena Johnson.
Copyright © UCLA Athletics

Lisa Fernandez pitches a one-hitter and hits a home run. Natasha Watley plays shortstop and hits lead-off. These Honda-Broderick award winners — the best collegiate women athletes in the nation — share the softball diamond with fellow Bruins Amanda Freed, Tairia Mims, and Stacey Nuveman.

Mohini Bhardwaj is playing lead-off as well, but her sport is gymnastics, her role team captain. At 25, she helps her younger teammates keep their missteps and disappointments in perspective.

Elsewhere, Seilala Sua is throwing the discus and John Godina is heaving the shot put. Godina jokes to a Los Angeles Times reporter that no one wants to see him naked: he’s willing to participate in his sport at an ancient Greek site, but not copy the classical mode of undress. Sheena Johnson and Monique Henderson, fresh from winning the 2004 NCAA outdoor championship in track and field, are teaming up with more experienced UCLA alums like Amy Acuff and Gail Devers.

In men’s water polo, one of three Bruins is goalie Brandon Brooks. In women’s water polo, six players and an alternate are UCLA alumnae. Beach volleyball is also a Bruin stronghold, for both men and women.

And Bruin participation doesn’t end with Team USA. Another 14 Bruin athletes compete for other countries. And both the coaching staffs and the television commentators include a host of former UCLA coaches and athletes.

Visit the UCLA Athletics web site for a complete list of Bruin competitors, the latest bulletins on their performance, and a taste of UCLA’s long Olympic history, dating all the way back to 1920.