USA Basketball announced today the 21 finalists for the roster that will represent the U.S. in the London Olympics this summer, and as expected, Sue Bird is among them. USA Basketball will pare the roster to a final group of 12 prior to the start of basketball competition at the Olympics on July 28.
Bird has been a fixture on the U.S. Senior Women’s National Team since 2002, when she was part of the roster for the FIBA World Championship. Bird won gold medals with the USA in the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Olympics, the latter time as starting point guard. One of three two-time gold medalists among the finalists for the U.S. roster (Tamika Catchings and Diana Taurasi are the others), Bird will likely continue her role as starter after most recently helming the USA squad that won the 2010 FIBA World Championship in the Czech Republic.
The other finalists include all 12 players from the 2010 World Championship squad. The group includes one collegian, Baylor center Brittney Griner.
“Now that we’re down to 21 finalists, you look around and you see a group of players that have tremendous experience,” U.S. National Team Head Coach Geno Auriemma said in the release. “(We have) players that have won (Olympic) gold medals, won World Championships, there are WNBA champions on the list, players that have won in Europe in international competition. You’ve got a group of players that have experienced everything there is to experience and as a coach, as someone who’s been around these players, I couldn’t be happier with this group. They represent the best of what the United States has to offer.”
The final roster will be chosen by the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee, which is made up of WNBA representatives Reneé Brown, Chief of Basketball Operations and Player Relations; Dan Hughes, head coach/General Manager of the San Antonio Silver Stars; and Chief Operating Officer/General Manager of the Indiana Fever Kelly Krauskopf; athlete representative and five-time Olympian Teresa Edwards; and USA Basketball Women’s National Team Director Carol Callan.