The U.S. women’s basketball program’s quest for a record-tying seventh straight Olympic title, postponed by one year, is reforming.
New coach Dawn Staley said U.S. national team director Carol Callan sent her an email last week with “a penciled schedule” ahead of the Tokyo Games that open July 23, 2021.
“There’s nothing that we can do at this point because nothing’s really set in stone, but we do want to hold some training camps leading up to the Olympic Games,” Staley told Mike Tirico on “Lunch Talk Live” on NBCSN on Monday. “When they’ll be, we don’t know. But we know that, hopefully, we’ll get back to some normalcy where we can get those things in concrete.”
Staley, a point guard on the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympic champion teams, succeeded Geno Auriemma as head coach for this cycle. In between seasons coaching the University of South Carolina, she guided the Americans to an unprecedented third straight world championship title in 2018, stuffing rival Australia 73-56 in the final.
Last week, Staley published a letter on The Players’ Tribune, motivated to write after the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.
“I’ve never seen anyone die. I’ve never seen anyone take their last breath in that manner,” she said on “Lunch Talk Live.” “So that was moving.”
In the letter, titled “Black People Are Tired,” Staley told a story she doesn’t believed she previously shared elsewhere — that her mom, at age 13, left South Carolina for Philadelphia because Staley’s grandmother “was afraid she might get lynched” after being run out of a meat store.
“Most people don’t know one of the reasons why I took the job at South Carolina was because of my parents,” said Staley, who in 2008 left her hometown of Philadelphia and her head coaching job at Temple for South Carolina. “When my mother got older, I thought it would be a great idea to bring her back to South Carolina.”
MORE: Dawn Staley played with Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi. Now, she coaches them
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Correction: An earlier version of this post reported that Staley was on the 1996 and 2000 Olympic champion teams. She was also on the 2004 Olympic champion team.