NEW YORK, August 12, 2004 – The United States Olympic Committee announced today that Charlotte Sting point guard and two-time Olympic gold medalist Dawn Staley will serve as the flag bearer for the entire United States Olympic contingent during the Opening Ceremonies of the Athens Olympic Games. NBC will televise the Opening Ceremonies beginning at 8 p.m. ET on August 13.
“I am in disbelief.” Staley told NBC’s Katie Couric this morning on the set of the Today Show in Athens. “I am a little girl from North Philadelphia in the housing projects . . . leading our U.S. delegation into the Opening Ceremony. It’s a tremendous honor. I am still in total disbelief.”
Staley was chosen by a vote of the captains of all the U.S. teams.
“I’m not an emotional person, but this makes me emotional,” Staley added. “I’m invisible most of the time. I’m not even a conversation starter. I usually do all my talking on the court, so it’s an honor that so many other sports see me in a different light.”
Staley, who won Olympic Gold in 1996 in Atlanta and in 2000 in Sydney, is a six-year veteran of the WNBA, and led the Charlotte Sting to the WNBA Finals in 2001. She is a three-time WNBA All-Star, and is the career leader in assists for women’s professional basketball players (1,601 in two ABL seasons and five-plus WNBA seasons). During the WNBA offseason, Staley serves as the head women’s basketball coach at Temple University, leading the Owls to a pair of NCAA Tournament berths over the past four years.
Staley has also been honored on numerous occasions for her work with inner-city Philadelphia children through the foundation that bears her name, winning the 1999 WNBA Entrepreneurial Spirit Award, and the 1998 American Red Cross Spectrum Award, which celebrates women who have made outstanding contributions to their communities.