Australian Opals women’s basketball player and Seattle Storm All-Star Lauren Jackson made news yesterday for being named the first female flag bearer for her country in 20 years and one of a number of women with the honor in the 2012 London Olympics.
As described in a piece by Rachael Brown of The World Today, Jackson was apparently caught off guard when Australia’s chef de mission Nick Green called her into his office to give her the good news, thinking she was in trouble. Australia’s Radio National has extended audio of her remarks in which she said she’s not quite sure she’s worthy of the honor.
I’m not quite sure I’m worthy of this honor. I feel so proud. Just- I still can’t believe it. It’s one of those things in my career where- I mean, it’s real and tomorrow night I get to wave the flag in front of millions of people and for Australia…Tomorrow night, I believe, I mean – even tonight, what’s just happened – is going to be the proudest moment of my life. No doubt about it. To be named the leader of that team and to be able to walk in front of Australia in the Olympic games is something that I never in my wildest dreams thought I could achieve.
What Jackson had already accomplished prior to this announcement was probably well beyond the wildest dreams of most people: with four WNBL MVPs, three WNBA MVPs, a couple WNBA titles, and being a member of the WNBA’s Top 15 Players of All Time list, Jackson has a strong case for being one of the best basketball players anywhere on the planet and it’s easy to forget that she had anything left to accomplish.
But this is just one of many examples of why even non-sports fans can come together to appreciate what the Olympics is about. For Jackson, who recently described herself in a brief Q&A;with Australia’s women’s sports website Sport for Women as, “…very patriotic and putting on the green and gold still gives me shivers”, this is about something bigger than any of those individual honors, previous milestones, or even signing the biggest contract of any female in Australian sports history.
In an Olympic year that some have called the “Year of the Woman”, Jackson has the honor of representing her nation to carry on a legacy that predates all of us.
For more news and information on Jackson, visit her Olympic profile page at Sport For Women. For more on the Australian team in general, visit Sport for Women’s in-depth coverage of Australian basketball or our brief capsule posted earlier today. For ongoing coverage of the Australian Olympic teams in pictures, visit Sport For Women’s Storify page.