If all goes according to plan, Canada may want to borrow the WNBA’s original marketing campaign slogan “We got next.”
The Globe and Mail reports that Canadian Olympic officials are targeting the 2020 Summer Olympics as the year the team can make a serious run at Team USA for gold. If all goes according to plan, the Canadian squad can follow the blueprint of Argentina’s gold-winning team from the 2004 Athens game, which was loaded with homegrown talent that peaked at the right time – and caught the U.S. in a downswing of Olympic development.
Unsurprisingly, and perhaps dubiously, the plan rests on the tall shoulders of Ontario native Andrew Wiggins, whom the Cleveland Cavaliers selected as the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s NBA draft. It also involves fellow 2014 draftees Nik Stauskas and Tyler Ennis, as well as Wiggins’ Cleveland teammates Tristan Thompson and Anthony Bennett, the No. 1 overall pick in 2013.
Canada has qualified in basketball for just one of the past six Summer Games, according to The Globe, and could be hard-pressed just to make it to Rio for 2016. But if Wiggins matures as Canadian officials hope, and if the rest of Canada’s basketball talent follows a similar suit, Canada could find itself exactly where it wants to be, and where it hasn’t been in quite a long time – competing for Olympic gold. If Canada does make it back to the gold-medal game, it would its first appearance there since 1936, when the U.S. beat Canada 19-8 – in a game played outdoors in the rain.