The US women’s basketball team opened the third day of the Team USA Media Summit. On stage was Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings, Elena Delle Donne and Candace Parker.
For five straight Olympic games, the women’s team took home the gold medal. Currently riding a 41 game winning streak dating back to Barcelona, many think that the team doesn’t have an issue winning, but Catchings admitted it’s quite the opposite “every team plays their best game against us.”
There is a 25-women roster which will be cut down to 12 before the team travels to Rio De Janeiro. Bird talked about the amount of competition there is on the roster and how it will be an issue for the selection committee finalizing the roster.
“It’s incredibly difficult … Right now we have that team of 25 and you can probably literally pull 12 names out of a hat, send them to the Olympics, and they have a chance to win a gold medal,” Bird said. “That’s just how good our country is right now in the sport.”
Parker will look to travel back to where she first joined the US national basketball landscape in Rio De Janeiro. In 2006, she was a member of US team who took the bronze medal after losing to Russia in the semi-finals in the FIBA World Championship for women.
Since then, she has been a part of the Olympic landscape. Her daughter who is now six-years, was able to see her play during the London games.
“I was 23 when I had my daughter … USA basketball has done a great job of accommodating,” Parker said. “It’s fun to see me as a mom her understand [the victory] while we were in London.”
While Parker has sustained multiple injuries in her career, but she admitted that her torn ACL, shoulder surgery and broken foot did not compare to coming back from giving birth to her child.
“Unfortunately I have had a lot of injuries in my career,” Parker said. “That pales in comparison to how hard it is coming back from having a kid.”
Delle Donne is the youngest of the four who attended the Media Summit and besides her WNBA Most Valuable Player award this past season, she has a unique story to tell.
While in college, she was diagnosed with Lyme Disease and discussed how she balances her work regimen along with her health regimen.
“In a regular day, if I put three hours into my body for training, I put four hours into my health,” Delle Donne said. “It’s a part of my day, and a lot of people go through various things and perseverance … I’m just blessed to be in this world and competing for the Olympics.”
Catchings has also pushed through adversity in her life as she was born with hearing and speech problems. For a while, she didn’t know how to fit in, but she found her escape through playing basketball.
“I got made fun of a lot growing up, to me it was always trying to figure out a way to fit in,” Catchings said. “That’s where sports came into my life.”
Since the 1996 Olympic games and the birth of the WNBA, each one of the women’s lives were consumed by basketball and they will prepare for a potential sixth straight Olympic Gold Medal in Rio.