24 Current and Former WNBA Players Win Medals at 2012 Olympic Games
USA Takes Home Gold, France Earns Silver & Australia Wins Bronze
NEW YORK, Aug. 14, 2012 – The U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team defeated France, 86-50, in Saturday’s gold medal game in London, bringing the total to 24 current or former WNBA players who earned medals at the 2012 Olympic Games. Australia defeated Russia, 83-74, for the bronze medal. The WNBA was heavily represented with 38 current and former players dotting the rosters of nine of the 12 nations participating in London.
The United States women’s team has now won five consecutive Olympic gold medals (1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012), an Olympic record for traditional women’s team sports, and seven overall (including 1984 and 1988) in the nine Olympiads the U.S. has competed in since women’s basketball debuted at the 1976 Games in Montreal.
Each of the 12 members of the U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team currently plays in the WNBA, led by a trio of three-time Olympic gold medalists – Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), reigning league Most Valuable Player Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever), and 2009 MVP Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury). Bird, Catchings, and Taurasi all were members of the 2004 U.S. team that won the gold medal in Athens and the 2008 squad that brought home the gold from Beijing. Should any of the trio participate in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, they will have an opportunity to join legends Teresa Edwards and Lisa Leslie as the only basketball players to earn four gold medals. Leslie is the lone player to take home gold from four consecutive Olympiads, doing so in 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008; Edwards won gold in 1984, 1988, 1996 and 2000 and collected a bronze medal in 1992.
“There’ve been many players before us who have played in the Olympics and set the standard,” said Bird. “And we did it for them just as much as we did it for ourselves.”
U.S. players earning their second gold medal included 2011 WNBA Finals MVP Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx), 2011 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky), 2008 league MVP Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks), and two-time WNBA All-Star Game MVP Swin Cash (Chicago Sky). Augustus, Fowles, and Parker each earned gold in 2008 in Beijing; Cash as a member of the 2004 U.S. team in Athens.
Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen (both of the Minnesota Lynx), as well as Tina Charles and Asjha Jones (teammates with the Connecticut Sun), and Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream) – each a first-time Olympians – also earned gold medals with the U.S. team.
“I remember sitting on my couch in 1996 watching the USA women play and watching them win the gold medal,” said Parker. “I remember watching Dawn Staley, Lisa Leslie, Sheryl Swoopes, I remember watching them and being like ‘man I want to be where they are.”
The France Olympic Women’s Basketball Team, which captured its first medal (silver), was led by four former WNBA players: Emilie Gomis (2006), Sandrine Gruda (2008-10), Edwige Lawson-Wade (2005-10), and Emmeline Ndongue (2006).
Eight current and former WNBA players helped lead Australia to the bronze medal. The Opals, in fact, fell to the Americans in the semifinals, 86-73, in what was the narrowest margin of victory for the U.S. this Olympics. Leading the way for Australia were three-time WNBA Most Valuable Player Lauren Jackson (Seattle) and rising, second-year player Liz Cambage (Tulsa). Cambage and Jackson, led the Aussies in scoring against the U.S. with 19 and 14 points, respectively. Jackson departed London with her fourth Olympic medal (three silver and one bronze) and as the all-time leading scorer in Olympic women’s basketball history.
Also earning bronze for Australia were Jenna O’Hea (Los Angeles), and former WNBA players Suzy Batkovic (2005, 2009), Abby Bishop (2010), Kristi Harrower (1998-99, 2001-03, 2005, 2009), Laura (Summerton) Hodges (2005-06), and Belinda Snell (2005-07, 2009-11).
The 2012 WNBA season will resume play on Aug. 16. A complete list of current and former WNBA players that earned Olympic medals follows.
WNBA MEDAL WINNERS
|Seimone Augustus||United States||2006-present|
|Sue Bird||United States||2002-present|
|Swin Cash||United States||2002-present|
|Tamika Catchings||United States||2001-present|
|Tina Charles||United States||2010-present|
|Sylvia Fowles||United States||2008-present|
|Asjha Jones||United States||2002-present|
|Angel McCoughtry||United States||2009-present|
|Maya Moore||United States||2011-present|
|Candace Parker||United States||2008-present|
|Diana Taurasi||United States||2004-present|
|Lindsay Whalen||United States||2004-present|
|Suzy Batkovic||Australia||2005, 2009|
|Kristi Harrower||Australia||1998-99, 2001-03, 2005, 2009|
|Laura (Summerton) Hodges||Australia||2005-06|
|Belinda Snell||Australia||2005-07, 2009-11|