Sports Bird, Taurasi earn spots on fifth US Olympic basketball team
Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi make fifth women's basketball Olympic team
Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi were named to their fifth Olympic women's basketball team and will try to add to their goal medal haul in Tokyo.Bird, 40, and Taurasi, 39, each have four Olympic gold medals, first making the squad at the 2004 Summer Games in Athens.
Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi will try and become the first five-time Olympic gold medalists in basketball as they lead the U.S women's team at the Tokyo Games.
The duo was selected for their fifth Olympics on Monday, joining Teresa Edwards as the only basketball players in U.S. history to play in five. Edwards won four gold medals and a bronze in her illustrious Olympic career.
“It’s just been a tremendous journey when you think about playing for that long,” Taurasi said. “We’re trying to take it to the next generation. Focused on what we have to do to come home with gold. Tremendous competition like no other because of COVID, the delay of the Olympics. We’re really focused on winning gold.”
Heartbroken after finishing ninth, Olympic champion Simone Manuel reveals why she struggled
Simone Manuel failed to qualify for the final in the women's 100 freestyle, an event she won at the 2016 Rio Olympics."It was kind of one of those bittersweet moments where my body wasn’t doing what I knew it was capable of," said Manuel, 24, the only Black female swimmer to win an individual Olympic gold medal and one of the most popular and recognizable names in her sport.
There have been five international basketball players to play in five Olympics: Spain’s Juan Carlos Navarro, Brazil’s Adriana Moises Pinto and Oscar Schmidt, Australia’s Andrew Gaze and Puerto Rico’s Teofilo Cruz.
The 40-year-old Bird and 39-year-old Taurasi will lead a veteran group in Japan, including 6-foot-6 Sylvia Fowles, who will be playing in her fourth Olympics. Tina Charles will be in her third while 6-8 Brittney Griner and Breanna Stewart are back for a second time.
There will also be six newcomers to the Olympic stage led by reigning WNBA MVP A'ja Wilson. The Las Vegas Aces star helped the U.S. win the World Championship in 2018 in Spain. Others making their Olympic debuts are Skylar Diggins-Smith, Chelsea Gray, Ariel Atkins, Jewell Loyd and Napheesa Collier.
Brianna McNeal finishes second in 100-meter hurdles. Will she be cleared to race in Olympics?
Brianna McNeal faces a five-year ban for violating anti-doping rules. The hurdler was allowed to run at trials while her appeal is pending. She did her job on the track by finishing second Sunday. “I can celebrate this. I’m just happy I had the opportunity to be able to compete here. I thank God for that. It’s been a long journey,” McNeal said. “The next few weeks I’m just going to continue to pray and trust in God to see me through and hope that all things work out for my good. I’m just gonna take it day by day.” The fourth-place finisher, Gabbi Cunningham, will replace McNeal on the U.S.
Video: 14-year-old Summer McIntosh beats Penny Oleksiak, qualifies for nomination to Olympic team (cbc.ca)
“Happy for the roster we have. There's a great mix of very experienced players to first-time Olympians,” U.S. coach Dawn Staley said. “You need a good mix especially if you’re going to take care of winning a gold medal today and what the future looks like.”
Two former WNBA MVPs who didn't make the roster were Elena Delle Donne and Nneka Ogwumike. Delle Donne hasn't played all season as she's recovering from back surgery. Ogwumike has been sidelined with a left knee sprained suffered earlier this month. She was expected to return around the WNBA's Olympic break next month.
Both players were on the World Championship team that won gold in 2018 and Ogwmuike has been to nearly every U.S. training camp over the last few years. She's the only former WNBA MVP not to make an Olympic roster.
MLB Draft 2021 dates, start time, pick order, TV channels & more to know for baseball draft
The MLB Draft will be held on July 11-13 as a lead-up to the MLB All-Star game in Denver.MLB moved its annual selecting-the-future-stars event from its traditional slot of early June to mid-July, with the hopes that adding it to the sport’s premier mid-season showcase will put a bigger spotlight on the event.
“Breaks my heart that Nneka isn't on this team,” Staley said. “Having to make a decision today, if we had to make a decision a month from now I'm sure she'd be healthy. This was one of the things she wanted to do. ... She's been a great voice in our training camp and practices. We're going to definitely miss Nneka.”
The Americans have won the last six consecutive gold medals, not dropping a game at the Olympics since 1992. They are the heavy favorites to win again. The Americans are in a pool with France, Japan and Nigeria, which the U.S. opens up against on July 27. The Americans face Japan on July 30 and France on Aug. 2.
The U.S. team will get together in Las Vegas in July to train for a week as well as play an All-Star Game against a selection of WNBA players. The Americans will also play games against Australia and Nigeria.
Doug Feinberg, The Associated Press
Hiring Becky Hammon to head coaching job will shake up NBA. Is now the time it will happen? .
Becky Hammon appears to be the logical choice to become the first female coach to lead an NBA team, and with four openings this could be the year.That’s in reference to the open Celtics head coaching job and former Celtics assistant coach Kara Lawson and San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon.