Ready 4 Rio
By Alex Chambers, June 2016 Issue.
As the world gears up for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, so too is the Phoenix Mercury.
The three-time WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury will be represented at the 2016 Summer Games, as Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner were both named to the 12-member U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team roster April 27.
The women’s national team has taken home the gold in the last five Olympics (1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012), and this year is looking to make it six in a row.
To accommodate the Summer Olympics, which will take place Aug. 5 through 21, the WNBA will take a month-long hiatus as many of its players compete for their respective countries.
Mercury fans are no strangers to the Summer Games.
Three-time Olympic veteran Diana Taurasi is back to add her talents to the roster of an already talented squad. Taurasi earned her first gold medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. Being only a rookie at that time, Taurasi once lamented that she was relegated to getting doughnuts for point guard Dawn Staley. She quickly shifted into veteran role after grabbing her second gold medal in 2008 in Beijing, China, and her third in 2012 in London, England. Taurasi is looking to tie Teresa Edwards and Lisa Leslie, the only two USA women’s basketball players with four gold medals.
While Britney Griner will be making her Olympic debut, she does bring USA basketball experience after being part of the FIBA World Championship team in 2014 that brought home USA’s ninth title. This summer Griner will have an opportunity to showcase her defensive abilities and scoring skills on yet another world stage – plus she might throw down a dunk or two. No confirmation on whether or not she’ll be getting doughnuts for Taurasi.