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July 31, 2008 at 11:37 AM

Olympic reading

Hopefully you spotted our piece in The Seattle Times today. And here are a few other stories to get you going for the Olympic Games.
The San Francisco Chronicle wrapped up the entire four-days Team USA spent in the area practicing and having their WNBA peers/teammates promote the league. Sports Illustrated writer Kelli Anderson and I commented at the “Inspiring Women” luncheon that it’s the first time the WNBA has had anything major on the West Coast, hosting one All-Star game in Phoenix, and it was nice to see the league in our territory. I was surprised fans didn’t sneak to Maples Pavilion to see the squad practice and hound for autographs, but the attendance at the various events showed plenty of interest.
There’s been scattered talk of an expansion team in the Bay Area, but the WNBA should really chill on adding more teams. Franchises like Chicago and Atlanta are still trying to take root and there’s only so much Candace Parker can do for marketing the league.
Anyway, since there weren’t many articles on broadcaster Robin Roberts being the 2008 recipient of the “Inspiring Women” award, I’ll state that the event was posh. It was held at the Palace Hotel in downtown San Francisco and was a quick 90-minute luncheon — not counting post-schmoozing.
Storm co-owner Anne Levinson and Los Angeles co-owner Kathy Goodman were in attendance, along with Washington owner Shelia Johnson and Sky owner Michael Alter. Storm CEO Karen Bryant also attended, chatting up Connecticut GM Chris Sienko.
Goodman was funny about the Detroit-Los Angeles fight. She was glad she wasn’t seated courtside with co-owner Carla Christofferson because she didn’t want to have to hold Christofferson back. “I already had to tell her to get off the seat!”
A video of Roberts’ life, including shots of her as a pigtailed little girl, was shown before she took the stage looking stunning. She started to tear-up at the end of her speech when she told the crowd of about 300 people that, “You inspire me to continue to live and I thank you so much for that.” (Roberts was diagnosed with cancer last year)
WNBA president Donna Orender, wanting to make the afternoon light and not miss a moment to pitch to a potential advertiser, walked on the stage patting her eyes as she said, “Now I need Kleenex as a sponsor.”
Four-time Olympian Lisa Leslie then introduced her squad. They posed for photos with Roberts and took off for practice.
So, here are the stories as Team USA is just beginning their flight to China:
Team USA Finally together
Team USA assistant coach Gail Goestenkors ready to coach
Lawson loves wearing Team USA colors
Catching up with Taurasi
Defense is key to success
Secret out about Opening Ceremonies
Officials will make sure women are women
Hammon snubbed by Team USA
Q&A with Bird

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