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The latest news and analysis on college and pro women's basketball.

September 10, 2012 at 8:00 AM

WNBA to honor U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team; other tidbits from historic London Games

WNBABall.jpgOK. National media didn’t do its best job covering the afterglow of women’s achievements at the London Olympic Games. The Seattle Times did offer diaries and features about Olympians with Washington ties. And I blogged/tweeted about the entire women’s basketball tournament, including USA Basketball winning an unprecedented fifth consecutive gold medal.
Side note: I was up early watching the Russians and Turks. However, I rarely tweeted about those games because surnames like Palazoglu or Vodopyanova would gobble up Twitter’s allotted 140-characters.
Anyway, people were even engaged in the entire Olympic Games to help NBC Universal’s monopolized coverage break even in comparison to the Beijing Games. The London Games were the most watched U.S. television event ever, drawing 219.4 million U.S. viewers. (Psst. And half of our population are women.)
The WNBA isn’t letting talk shows, documentary-style interviews and some newspaper/magazine articles, often about select female Olympians, be sufficient for recognition of the American female Olympic delegates. At the WNBA’s annual Women of Inspiration banquet at Chelsea Piers in New York, the league is giving its 2012 Inspiration Award to the entire USA women’s Olympic team. The women combined to win 58 of the USA’s 104 total medals.


WNBA president Laurel Richie will also give USA Basketball’s women’s team a special recognition. WNBA Player’s Association president Tamika Catchings, a three-time Olympian, will accept the honor on behalf of the team.
For more information about this star-studded event, please read the WNBA’s press release below.
But before that, a funny (to me) story. I wanted to ask Storm reserve Svetlana Abrosimova about the Olympic Games. Especially since the Russian forward’s turmoil involving her omission from the team was international news. Russia ultimately lost to France in the semifinals (81-64) and to Australia (83-74) in the bronze-medal game.
The latter was a rematch from the preliminary round where Australia’s Liz Cambage, a 6-foot-8 center, dunked on the Russians. It was the first dunk in Olympic women’s basketball history.
Naturally I felt Abrosimova would feel solemn for her country’s performance at the Games. Only, being a budding American cosmopolitan, I didn’t know of the athletic rivalry between Russia and France.
“Ugh,” Abrosimova started when asked if she watched the Games. “I couldn’t watch the first three games. First of all, the timing was off and I’m like ‘I don’t want to see this.’ Then I watched all of the quarterfinals, semifinals and the game for third place.
“It was frustrating. Especially losing to France twice. Because for us, it’s our rivalry in Europe. For all these years it was either us or them and every game was always really close. To lose to them by (17) points and the way we lost was tough. And you can see how they took advantage of it like ‘Oh yeah, we’re better than Russians. We beat the Russians.’
“To me, I hate to see this. I hate to see it happening on the biggest stage — the Olympics. Everybody saw that and obviously I felt like if I were there, that would not happen. Who knows. You never know…We have to wait till World Games. But I have to hear it for an entire year. I’m really good friends with Celine Dumerc — the entire starting lineup are my friends — I know I’ll hear it all the time.”

The women of Team USA — fresh from the Olympic Games in London where they earned 58 of the 104 medals by the United States — will receive the WNBA Inspiration Award for 2012. The USA Basketball Women’s National Team, the most decorated women’s team in U.S. Olympic history, is also slated to receive a special recognition, WNBA President Laurel J. Richie announced today.
Each year, the WNBA Inspiring Women national luncheon celebrates individuals who show the world what is possible. As Title IX turns 40 and as American women made headlines at this summer’s Olympic Games, a host of female Olympians from multiple sports will be in attendance to receive their acknowledgement including Betsey Armstrong (Water Polo), Danielle Scott-Arruda (Indoor Volleyball), Kayla Harrison (Judo), Taylor Ritzel (Rowing), and Lauren Tamayo (Cycling). Reigning WNBA MVP Tamika Catchings will represent the USA Basketball Women’s National Team in accepting a special recognition for receiving their fifth straight gold medal.
This luncheon celebrates Team USA women and others who have blazed new paths on the court, in the boardroom, and in the community on Monday, Sept. 10, at Chelsea Piers in New York City. More than 300 people from the worlds of entertainment, sports, business, and politics are expected to attend.
“It truly was the summer for female athletes as they dominated the global stage with their efforts being seen and cheered by millions of people worldwide,” said WNBA President Laurel J. Richie. “We are proud of all their accomplishments and it brings the league great joy to present the WNBA Inspiration Award to these extraordinary women.”
In addition to the WNBA Inspiration Award, two special presentations will take place during the luncheon. Teresa Edwards, Women’s Basketball Legend and Hall of Famer will receive the Boost Mobile Pioneer Award, which recognizes a female in the sports world who embodies the spirit of both the WNBA and Boost Mobile, a leader in the no-contract wireless industry. The individual is seen as a pioneer in the community, is passionate about her professional and personal endeavors through which she blazes trails for the next generation.
Bacardi U.S.A., Inc. and the WNBA, in collaboration with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, will award two $15,000 scholarships to young women (21+) from the N.Y. Tri-State area. The Inspiring Women Gold Standard Scholarship Award recognizes leaders who excel in the classroom, are influential members of their community and who exemplify the values of volunteerism and service.
Also, as part of the WNBA Inspiring Women celebration, The Coca-Cola Company will host WNBA FIT Live Positively community event for the Mosaic Preparatory Academy on Friday, Sept. 7 in New York. Led by WNBA Legend Kym Hampton, the clinic will engage youth through a variety of fitness skills and drills while stressing the importance of health and nutrition.
Gold Partners for the luncheon include Bacardi, BBVA, Boost Mobile, The Coca-Cola Company, Ebony, Hotel Indigo, Jamba Juice and SAP.
At the league’s inaugural luncheon in 2006, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright addressed a group of inspiring women as the league honored and recognized the WNBA All-Decade Team. Other past honorees include former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts, political commentator Cokie Roberts, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice and award-winning journalist Katie Couric.

Comments | More in WNBA | Topics: Olympics

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