Storm guard Sue Bird writes the final installment of her Olympic diary.
I have finally returned home to Seattle, and it feels so great to be back. I can’t complain because the last month has been truly memorable and I wouldn’t change it for the world, but sometimes sleeping in your own bed is all you need in life.
That being said, let me tell you about my final week in London. The last time I checked in we had just finished pool play and were headed into the medal rounds. After getting past Canada in the quarterfinals, a semifinal matchup with Australia was next.
Australia has been our biggest rival the last 12 years, and this game proved to be no different. As all you Storm fans know, it also has an interesting twist with teammate Lauren Jackson and I having to play against each other. Lauren is one of my closest friends, and so it has always been a little weird when we have to face off. I always want the best for her and was so proud when she was selected as flag bearer for Australia. But once we step on the floor, that all has to be put on the back burner.
The only plus about playing against LJ is that I don’t have to guard her. During this game she was her usual self and it was a very tough 40 minutes. Luckily, we were able to withstand their best shot and advance to the final. That’s where we met the hottest team of the tournament in France.
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Now I’m probably sure you are all waiting to hear about the game and how we were able to pull ahead by 40 and win another gold medal, right? Well, while all that is true, there is only one thing I will remember from that final game when I reflect back on it years from now.
The temporary kind. You see, the French players had all sorts of temporary tattoos that night. Their flag, the Olympic rings, and even names of people. I’m not sure what kind of ink they use in France but these ones were the pits! Within one minute of the ball being tipped, our team was covered in their tattoos. I had two flags on my jersey, Lindsay Whalen got some rings on her forearm and Diana Taurasi had a flag smudged onto her nose (insert big nose joke here!). Poor Maya Moore had to change her shorts at halftime because she got an unfriendly smudge in an unfriendly area, if ya know what I mean. Luckily for Dee, the ink came off skin rather easily with some soap and water, but those of us who got hit on our white jerseys will have a lifelong memory of the French!
The good news is there is another memory we will have from that night and it’s a gold medal! For the U.S. team, it’s our fifth Olympic gold medal in a row, and words can’t express how lucky I feel to be a part of such a legacy. The players who are a part of this streak are some of the best ever to play the game, and it’s both exciting and humbling to know I share that history with them.
OK, now that I’ve said all the corny stuff, let’s move onto the good stuff — the after party! It’s probably not as exciting as you’re all thinking, but I will say this much: there was a lot of champagne and I didn’t get to sleep until 7 a.m. Ah, the life of an Olympian lol!
Now that I’m back in Seattle, it’s time to switch to my Storm hat and try to see if we can recreate the summer I had in 2004, which ended with a gold medal and a WNBA championship. I hope to see you all at KeyArena as we go for our franchise’s third title.
It has been a lot of fun sharing my journey with you guys, and I hope you’ve enjoyed it as well.
See you around!
— Sue Bird