The News-Times

Bird expected in Storrs

Gold medalist will help celebrate UConn’s Olympians

- By Mike Anthony

Sue Bird’s All-American UConn career at the turn of the century was the foundation for her becoming a women’s basketball icon.

Bird, a five-time Olympic gold medalist, is expected to return to campus Sunday morning to help her alma mater honor other Huskies who have competed on the world’s biggest stage.

At 11 a.m. Sunday, an hour before the women’s basketball team plays Notre Dame, the university will formally unveil a monument that honors coaches and athletes with UConn ties who have competed in the Olympics.

Bird, 41, recently played in her final Olympics, starting at point guard and helping Team USA to a gold medal in Tokyo. She is expected to be joined at the unveiling by Swin Cash, Stefanie Dolson, Asjha Jones and others.

Bird won gold at 2004 Athens, 2008 Beijing, 2012 London, 2016 Rio de Janiero and 2020 Tokyo, which was pushed back to summer 2021 due to the pandemic. Former UConn teammate Diana Taurasi also won gold each at each of those Olympics, making those players the only five-time gold medalists in Olympic basketball history.

Bird has played with the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, and has won four champion

ships, since 2002.

Cash, a three-time WNBA champion who retired as a player in 2016, won gold in 2004 and 2012. She is now vice president of basketball operations for the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans.

Bird, Taurasi and Cash were teammates on one of the greatest teams in college basketball history in 2001-02.

Dolson, a two-time allstar who helped the Chicago Sky to the 2021 WNBA championsh­ip, won gold in the inaugural women’s basketball 3x3 event in Tokyo.

Jones, who played in the WNBA in 2002-15 and won a title with the Lynx in her final season, won gold in 2012. She currently works in the Portland Trailblaze­rs front office.

Athletic director David Benedict and board of trustees member Andy Bessette, also a former Olympian, will comment at the unveiling.

The monument, located on Hillside Road and on the north side of Gampel Pavilion, reads, “Dedicated to the world-class athletes and coaches from the University of Connecticu­t that were selected to represent their country at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

The names of the Olympians, their years and the city of competitio­n are listed on plaques affixed to the monument, which also notes medals won by individual­s and by teams with UConn representa­tion on the coaching staff.

UConn had three Olympic participan­ts for the 1980 Moscow summer games, which the USA boycotted. Bessette (men’s track and field), Dee Rowe (men’s basketball assistant coach) and Joe Morrone (men’s soccer) are on the monument.

The full list of names on the monument:

1952 Helsinki

Frank Dooley, men’s swimming (USA)

1980 Moscow

Andy Bessette, men’s track and field (USA) Joe Morrone, men’s soccer (USA)

Dee Rowe, men’s basketball assistant coach (USA)

1984 Los Angeles

Erhardt Kapp, men’s soccer (USA)

1988 Seoul

Tracey Fuchs, women’s field hockey (USA) Vicente Ithier, men’s basketball (Puerto Rico)

Charles Nagy, baseball (USA) — Gold

1996 Atlanta

Tracey Fuchs, women’s field hockey (USA) Rebecca Lobo, women’s basketball (USA) — Gold

Diane Madl, women’s field hockey (USA)

2000 Sydney

Svetlana Abrosimova, women’s basketball (Russia)

Ray Allen, men’s basketball (USA) — Gold Geno Auriemma, women’s basketball assistant coach (USA) — Gold

Dudley Dorival, men’s track and field (Haiti) Joanne Durant, women’s track and field (Barbados)

Sara Whalen, women’s soccer (USA) — Silver

Kara Wolters, women’s basketball (USA) — Gold

2004 Athens

Sue Bird, women’s basketball (USA) — Gold Swin Cash, women’s basketball (USA) — Gold

Dudley Dorival, men’s track and field (Haiti) Abed Kaaki, men’s swimming (Lebanon) Emeka Okafor, men’s basketball (USA) — Bronze

Rashidat Sadiq, women’s basketball (Nigeria)

Pete Soteropoul­os, baseball (Greece) Diana Taurasi, women’s basketball (USA) — Gold

Maria Yatrakis, women’s soccer (Greece)

2006 Turin

Bethany Hart, women’s bobsled (USA)

2008 Beijing

Svetlana Abrosimova, women’s basketball (Russia) — Bronze

Sue Bird, women’s basketball (USA) — Gold Dudley Dorival, men’s track and field (Haiti) Chinyere Pigot, women’s swimming (Suriname)

Diana Taurasi, women’s basketball (USA) — Gold

2012 London

Geno Auriemma, women’s basketball head coach (USA) — Gold

Sue Bird, women’s basketball (USA) — Gold Donn Cabral, men’s track and field (USA) Swin Cash, women’s basketball (USA) — Gold

Tina Charles, women’s basketball (USA) — Gold

Phylicia George, women’s track and field (Canada)

Melissa Gonzalez, women’s field hockey (USA)

Asjha Jones, women’s basketball (USA) —

Gold

Maya Moore, women’s basketball (USA) — Gold

Chinyere Pigot, women’s swimming (Suriname)

Diguan Pigot, men’s swimming (Suriname) Diana Taurasi, women’s basketball (USA) — Gold

2014 Sochi

Jessica Lutz, women’s ice hockey (Switzerlan­d) — Bronze

2016 Rio De Janeiro

Geno Auriemma, women’s basketball head coach (USA) — Gold

Sue Bird, women’s basketball (USA) — Gold Donn Cabral, men’s track and field (USA) — Gold

Tina Charles, women’s basketball (USA) — Gold

Phylicia George, women’s track and field (Canada)

Melissa Gonzalez, women’s field hockey (USA)

Stephanie Labbé, women’s soccer (Canada) — Bronze

Maya Moore, women’s basketball (USA) — Gold

Kia Nurse, women’s basketball (Canada) Cecile Pieper, women’s field hockey (Germany) — Bronze

Breanna Stewart, women’s basketball (USA) — Gold

Diana Taurasi, women’s basketball (USA) — Gold

2018 Pyeongchan­g

Steve Emt, wheelchair curling (USA) Phylicia George, women’s bobsled (Canada) — Bronze

2020 Tokyo

Sue Bird, women’s basketball (USA) — Gold Tina Charles, women’s basketball (USA) — Gold

Napheesa Collier, women’s basketball (USA) — Gold

Amy Dixon, women’s paratriath­lon (USA) Stefanie Dolson, women’s basketball/3x3 (USA) — Gold

Aaliyah Edwards, women’s basketball (Canada)

Gavin Edwards, men’s basketball (Japan) Niels Giffey, men’s basketball (Germany) Stephanie Labbé, women’s soccer (Canada) — Gold

Kia Nurse, women’s basketball (Canada) Cecile Pieper, women’s field hockey (Germany)

Jennifer Rizzotti, women’s basketball assistant coach (USA) — Gold

Breanna Stewart, women’s basketball (USA) — Gold

Diana Taurasi, women’s basketball (USA) — Gold

Roisin Upton, women’s field hockey (Ireland)

Gabby Williams, women’s basketball (France) — Bronze

 ?? Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images ?? Diana Taurasi, left, and Sue Bird of Team USA bite their gold medals during the Summer Olympics on Aug. 8.
Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images Diana Taurasi, left, and Sue Bird of Team USA bite their gold medals during the Summer Olympics on Aug. 8.

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