Coach G's journey to the gold: Aug. 25
Aug. 25, 2008
Good as Gold!! What an incredible journey this has been. It all culminated with winning the gold medal Saturday night against Australia. We knew it would be a tough task, since we had played the Aussies two weeks earlier and only won by four.
To get to the gold medal game, we had to get past Russia in the semifinals. They had beaten us two years ago at the World Championships, so we were determined to redeem ourselves and show the world how far we had come since that game. It was a hard fought game with many lead changes, but we were able to go into halftime with a slight lead. The team felt good because our defense was keeping us in the game despite our poor shooting. We knew we would shoot better in the second half and we did. Slowly but surely, we pulled away and once again our depth proved too much for the Russians.
You could really feel the excitement in the air for the gold medal game. We felt all along that we would be playing Australia in the final. They have two of the best players in the world on their team in Lauren Jackson and Penny Taylor, and they were the reigning World Champions. Once again, we got off to a slow start but were able to build our lead to 17 by halftime. We knew the Aussies would come out with a run in the second half, but we withstood the storm and continued to attack them with our size and depth. The team managed to pull away and win by an astounding 27 points.
The postgame ceremony and celebration really stirred the soul. I was so happy for our head coach Anne Donovan, she has now won gold medals as a player, as an assistant coach and as a head coach. After the loss at the World Championships, I knew she was feeling a lot of pressure to come away with gold this time around. Lisa Leslie played like a true champion in winning her fourth Olympic gold medal. I was so proud of her. She has handled her entire career with grace and style.
There is nothing like winning a gold medal and hearing the National Anthem while the American flag is being raised to the rafters. There is such a great sense of pride. It's hard to describe.
The game wasn't until 10 p.m. in Beijing, so by the time we returned to the hotel, it was 2 a.m. We then had a celebratory party that ended around 5 a.m. Our bus left for the airport at 9 a.m., and 22 hours later, I've finally made it back home to Austin.
Thanks for all of your support during the Olympics! I'm now ready to begin another fantastic journey with my own team.