26 July, 2021
08 August
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In Photos: The amazing Women's Olympic Basketball journey of Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird

COLORADO SPRINGS (USA) - Legendary duo Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird are preparing not only for their fifth Women's Olympic Basketball Tournament, but they are also chasing their fifth gold medal when they appear at Tokyo 2020.

Here is the story of the USA backcourt pairing and their incredible Olympic journey over the past 17 years.

Chapter #1: Athens - 2004

Taurasi made an instant impression on her Olympic debut after coming within one rebound of a double-double with 12 points and 9 board in USA's opener against New Zealand in a commanding 99-47 success. 

While  Taurasi was playing her first major global tournament for her country at senior level, Bird had already tasted gold two years earlier at the 2002 FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup.  The playmaker also started strongly in Greece with 6 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists.

As the curtain fell on the action in Athens, both players celebrated scooping their maiden gold medal as USA eased past Australia 74-63 in the title game. This was just the start of a meteoric rise on the international stage for the pair.

Chapter #2: Beijing - 2008

The role of Bird in Beijing was perhaps the least influential of all her Olympic appearances in terms of court time and numbers as she averaged less than two assists per game. Although defensively and in terms of her ability to look after the ball, she showed her exceptional quality as always.

While Taurasi only finished third top scorer for her team at this event, she still posted some huge and timely contributions like always, most notably dropping 21 points in the Semi-Final against Russia - a country where she spent much of her time winning trophies in club basketball at Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje and UMMC Ekaterinburg with Bird.


As was becoming customary, USA landed another title without any of their opponents laying a glove on them. Taurasi and Bird claimed consecutive Olympic gold medals as their team cruised past Australia 92-65 in the Final. It also put them back on top of global basketball, after they failed to win the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2006 when the Opals occupied the top podium step.

Chapter #3: London - 2012

With two positive experiences of Athens and Beijing already in the books and on the resume, it was the British capital that was the scene for Taurasi and her colleague gunning for the hat-trick of gold medals. 

Bird was exceptional in the competition when it came to passing the rock and handed out a memorable 9 assists against the Czech Republic. It would go towards leading the team with 4.5 dishes per game 

The most demanding game of the tournament for USA was against Australia in the Semi-Finals but the experience and class of the pair shone brightly. Taurasi dropped 14 points, while Bird fired her tournament-high of 13 points to secure a hard fought 86-73 triumph and put them within touching distance of yet another Olympic title.

And so it materialized for Taurasi and Bird as USA finished their campaign unbeaten with a convincing 86-50 win against first-time Finalists, France.

Chapter #4: Rio - 2016

With three gold medals already on the resume, the duo went to Rio looking for a fourth title and there was never any doubt as both players showed their class once again as USA dominated from start to finish.

The champions were so dominant that no team even got within 18 points of them throughout the tournament. The offensive power was far too much for their opponents to handle as the USA smashed past the 100-point mark dix times - including their 101-72 win against Spain in the Final.

Bird was able to reflect on being the leader in assists for USA with almost five per game - helped by a sensational showing of 9 in the debry game against neighbors Canada.

Meanwhile Taurasi top-scored for her team, pouring in almost 16 points per game, She reached double-digits in 7 of the 8 games, netting 17 points in the title clash against Spain.

Now we're all waiting to see what Chapter 5 in Tokyo might hold for these two legends of the women's game.