Tokyo 2021: American basketball players Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird want to become legend

American basketball players Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird have nothing more to prove. Quadruple Olympic champions, they will try to win a fifth title in Tokyo. This feat has never been achieved in team sports at the Olympics.

Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird hold the secret to longevity. At the age of 39 and 40 respectively, the stars of the American women’s basketball team never cease to panic their opponents on the floors. As they begin the competition, Tuesday, July 27, in Tokyo, they will try to enter the legend of Olympism, by winning a fifth title, an unprecedented feat for team sports.

In history, only a dozen of them have won at least one Olympic title in five different editions. If crowned in Japan, Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird would join British rower Steve Redgrave, German kayaker Birgit Fischer, Hungarian fencers Pal Kovacs, Aladar Gerevich and Italian Valentina Vezzali, and German riders Reiner Klimke and Isabell Werth.

Unbeaten since 2006

The two basketball players were already present in Athens in 2004. And it was not the postponement of the Games for one year because of the Covid-19 pandemic that made the two tireless basketball players hesitate for a single second to travel to Japan. . With Team USA, they are unbeaten in international competition since September 21, 2006 and a defeat in the semi-finals of the World Cup against Russia. Since then, the Americans have strung together 63 straight victories, winning the World Cup in 2010, 2014 and 2018 as well as the Games in 2008, 2012 and 2016. And, more anecdotally, the AmériCup in 2007 and 2019.

Seventeen years later, Sue Bird was chosen for her performances but also for her aura off the pitch. The 1m75 point guard, a Seattle Storm player, has become an icon. She regularly takes a stand for more equality between men and women. She also spoke in favor of the “Black Lives Matter” movement. In July 2017, Sue Bird also came out and revealed her relationship with football star Megan Rapinoe , whom she met on the sidelines of Olympic competitions in Rio. In 2018, they became the first gay couple to pose nude for and cover ESPN The Magazine’s “Body Issue”. The LGBTQ + cause is now one of their main struggles.

The best player ever

Her teammate and best friend Diana Taurasi has also revealed her homosexuality. She has since married her former teammate, Australian Penny Taylor. Best scorer in WNBA history, she is considered the best player of all time. She was even nicknamed “White Mamba” by the late Kobe Bryant. The rear is known to have a reputation as a bloody player, even if it means provoking her opponents. A character that she claims. “I have a lot of outspokenness. I like the confrontation,” she summed up to ESPN . “I understand why people don’t like me. And I don’t mind.”

Despite a track record as long as the arm (including three WNBA titles), she is not yet satisfied. “The minute the 2016 Games ended, my next goal was to compete in a fifth Olympiad,” she said. Even though she knows that the end of her career is approaching, she intends to enjoy it to the end without regret. “I think that when the day arrives, I would be completely happy”, assures the champion.

In the meantime, with her eternal friend Sue Bird, she wants to write a new page of her legend. As usual at the Games, the Americans are several steps ahead of the rest of the competition, despite six Olympic “rookies”, including four novices in international competition. Team USA begins on Tuesday against the Nigerians, before moving on against the Japanese hosts and finishing against the French vice-champions of Europe. Finalist of the 2018 World Cup, Australia seems to be the only candidate to shake the American empire, despite the withdrawal of its pivot Liz Cambage.

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