Stephen Curry must rethink his Olympic plan

Stephen Curry
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Fourteen months ago, Stephen Curry said his plan was to make his Olympic debut in Tokyo. Much has changed since then.

The Golden State Warriors star was asked Wednesday if the plan was still to play in the Olympics, now that they’re in 2021.

“Honestly, I have no idea,” Curry said. “Very open-ended question, and I have no idea. That’s my best answer.”

Curry, 32 and a two-time NBA MVP, is the most accomplished player in the world yet to suit up at an Olympics.

He was on the 2010 and 2014 FIBA World Cup teams but was not among 20 finalists for the 2012 Olympic team.

Curry withdrew from 2016 Olympic consideration two months before the Rio Games, citing several reasons, including knee and ankle injuries.

Last season, Curry broke his left hand in the fourth game on Oct. 30, a month after saying he planned on the Tokyo Games. He returned in March and played one game before being sidelined by the flu and the Warriors season ending due to the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. Olympic roster selection next summer will be more complicated than usual given a tighter turnaround from the end of the NBA season. A potential Game 7 of the NBA Finals will be the night before the Tokyo Opening Ceremony.

With a USA Basketball training camp earlier in July, it’s possible that the team 12-man Olympic team is decided during the early rounds of the NBA Playoffs. And possible that players still competing in the playoffs are not on the Olympic team.

The Warriors would have to make a massive improvement to return to the Finals — where they appeared five straight years from 2015-19 — given they had the league’s worst record when the pandemic halted last season. Rio Olympian Klay Thompson is out for the entire season with a right Achilles tear.

Curry isn’t the only premier point guard undecided on Tokyo. Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers, who has also yet to play at an Olympics, was also non-committal when asked Tuesday.

Other top point guards do have Olympic experience, including Kyrie Irving and Russell Westbrook in USA Basketball’s player pool as of last February.

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Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

Diana Taurasi
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Diana Taurasi is set to return to the U.S. national basketball team next week for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics, signaling a possible bid for a record-breaking sixth Olympic appearance in 2024 at age 42.

Taurasi is on the 15-player roster for next week’s training camp in Minnesota announced Tuesday.

Brittney Griner is not on the list but is expected to return to competitive basketball later this year with her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury (also Taurasi’s longtime team, though she is currently a free agent), after being detained in Russia for 10 months in 2022.

Taurasi said as far back as the 2016 Rio Games that her Olympic career was likely over, but returned to the national team after Dawn Staley succeeded Geno Auriemma as head coach in 2017.

In Tokyo, Taurasi and longtime backcourt partner Sue Bird became the first basketball players to win five Olympic gold medals. Bird has since retired.

After beating Japan in the final, Taurasi said “see you in Paris,” smiling, as she left an NBC interview. That’s now looking less like a joke and more like a prediction.

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve succeeded Staley as head coach last year. In early fall, she guided the U.S. to arguably the best FIBA World Cup performance ever, despite not having stalwarts Bird, Griner, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles.

Taurasi was not in contention for the team after suffering a WNBA season-ending quad injury in the summer. Taurasi, who is 38-0 in Olympic games and started every game at the last four Olympics, wasn’t on a U.S. team for an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 2002.

Next year, Taurasi can become the oldest Olympic basketball player in history and the first to play in six Games, according to Olympedia.org. Spain’s Rudy Fernandez could also play in a sixth Olympics in 2024.

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Mo Farah likely to retire this year

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British track legend Mo Farah will likely retire by the end of this year.

“I’m not going to go to the Olympics, and I think 2023 will probably be my last year,” the 39-year-old Farah said, according to multiple British media reports.

Farah, who swept the 5000m and 10,000m golds at the Olympics in 2012 and 2016, was announced Tuesday as part of the field for the London Marathon on April 23.

Last May, Farah reportedly said he believed his career on the track was over, but not the roads.

London might not be his last marathon. Farah also said that if, toward the end of this year, he was capable of being picked to run for Britain again, he would “never turn that down,” according to Tuesday’s reports.

It’s not clear if Farah was referencing the world track and field championships, which include a marathon and are in Budapest in August. Or selection for the 2024 British Olympic marathon team.

The fastest British male marathoner last year ran 2:10:46, ranking outside the top 300 in the world. Farah broke 2:10 in all five marathons that he’s finished, but he hasn’t run one since October 2019 (aside from pacing the 2020 London Marathon).

Farah withdrew four days before the last London Marathon on Oct. 2, citing a right hip injury.

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah’s best London Marathon finish in four starts was third place in 2018.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

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