Leslie, Thompson To Lead U.S. In Athens

July 12, 2004

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Former USC standouts and current WNBA all-stars Lisa Leslie and Tina Thompson will help defend the United States' Gold Medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, Aug. 13-19. As the current world champion, the U.S. looking for its third-straight gold-medal finish in women's basketball at the Summer Games.

USC has sent more athletes to the Olympic Games than any other university. From 1904 to 2000, there have been 340 athletes who attended USC before, during or after their Olympic appearance. They have collected 217 medals (104 gold, 59 silver and 54 bronze), including at least one gold medal in every summer Olympics since 1912. Women's basketball has had nine Olympians that have garnered four gold medals.

Leslie, of the Los Angeles Sparks, has been a mainstay on USA Basketball teams since being named to the 1989 USA Junior World Championship Team as a high school senior. She has been a member of eight USA Basketball gold medal winning teams, earning the top podium spot at the 2000 and 1996 Olympic Games, 1999 U.S. Olympic Cup, 1998 and 2002 FIBA World Championships, 1994 Goodwill Games, 1993 COPABA World Championship Qualifying Tournament, 1992 R. William Jones Cup and 1991 World University Games.

A member of four USA Senior National teams since 1997, this will be Thompson's first opportunity to represent the red, white and blue at the Olympic Games. Thompson, of the Houston Comets, was named an alternate to the 2000 Olympic team that competed in Sydney, Australia. She was selected to compete in the 1998 World Championship, but injured her knee during the USA's pre-World Championship training and was forced to withdraw. Prior to being injured, Thompson had helped the U.S. squad to a 6-1 pre-World Championship record and averaged 6.1 ppg. and 4.6 rpg. She was also selected for the 2002 USA World Championship Team, but again was sidelined by injury.

The team also includes Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Swin Cash (Detroit Shock), Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever), Shannon Johnson (San Antonio Silver Stars), DeLisha Milton-Jones (Los Angeles Sparks), Katie Smith (Minnesota Lynx), Dawn Staley (Charlotte Sting), Sheryl Swoopes (Houston Comets), Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) and Yolanda Griffith (Sacramento Monarchs).

The U.S. squad will get together for its first practice with all 12 members on Aug. 3 in New York from 7-9 p.m. (all times local) at Baruch College. The team will then head to Europe for its final tune-up before Athens, competing in a tournament in Salamanca, Spain, along with 2004 Olympic competitor Spain and 2003 European Championship fourth and fifth place finishers Poland and France, respectively.

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