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Cameron Brink reflects on achieving her Olympic dream: ‘I don’t take it lightly’

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Before USA Basketball 3×3 national team director Jay Demings officially offered Cameron Brink a spot on the Paris Olympics teams, she was in tears. “Oh my God, oh my God,” she recalled repeating as Demings held up a USA Basketball jersey with her name printed on the back.

On Wednesday, USA Basketball announced Brink is part of the 2024 3×3 women’s basketball Paris Olympics roster. Brink is joined by Hailey Van Lith, Cierra Burdick and Rhyne Howard.

“My first dream before being a WNBA player was to be an Olympian, so it’s amazing,” Brink said. “It’s one of the highest honors as a basketball player, so I don’t take it lightly.”

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The four athletes attended the recent 2024 USA Basketball 3×3 women’s basketball training camp in Springfield, Mass., and played in the FIBA 3×3 Women’s Series Springfield stop on their way to Olympic qualification. Brink, Burdick and Van Lith have previously played together, winning gold at the 2023 FIBA 3×3 World Cup.

Sparks coach Curt Miller, who has USA basketball experience as a coach and member of the 2017-21 women’s national team committee said the players’ experience competing together helped them earn spots on the roster.

“I think the committee really valued their time together and the amount of tournaments they’ve played so there’s some chemistry with that group already,” Miller said.

Brink said she is excited to reunite with some USA teammates and get to know Howard. Figuring out how to work together will be imperative in a game that Brink says is very different from 5×5.

“It’s way more exhausting than 5×5,” Brink said. “It’s a game where you need to make tough decisions when you’re really fatigued, it’s very fast paced and you don’t have time to dwell on your mistakes. But for a player like me, I’m allowed to be more versatile.”

Sparks forward Cameron Brink shoots in front of Indiana Fever center Temi Fagbenle during a game.Sparks forward Cameron Brink shoots in front of Indiana Fever center Temi Fagbenle during a game.

Miller also noted that Brink’s size and versatility in the 3×3 game was likely important for the committee and that her history with team USA has allowed them to see her impact. Brink has served on multiple Team USA rosters and holds three gold medals with them, as well as the honor of 2023 FIBA 3×3 World Cup MVP.

As a member of the USA 5×5 Women’s Olympic staff, Miller knows how much of an honor it is to be selected and represent the United States. He couldn’t be happier for Brink.

“It’s hugely exciting for her and the whole franchise,” Miller said. “I know how hard she worked in those tournaments to get top-10 points and ultimately this selection. Credit to all her work behind the scenes with USA 3×3. It’s an unbelievable opportunity.”

Miller says he hasn’t given the NCAA champion many pointers as she embarks on her Olympic journey, simply urging her to trust herself and be herself. He told her she earned it for a reason and to give it everything she’s got.

However, Miller is also being cautious of her workload as she continues with the Sparks ahead of the WNBA Olympic break starting July 21. Olympic 3×3 basketball competition is set for July 31-Aug. 5.

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“She’ll stay really present with the Sparks, but when we transition into the [Olympic] break, her focus will be on the USA team,” Miller said. “It will be an exciting change of pace for her and a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

A childhood dream fulfilled, Brink finds satisfaction in the hard work she’s put in over her career. While she can’t rank her accomplishments, representing her home country in Paris is sure to be up there.

“For me, this is a big deal and I’ve worked really hard for it,” Brink said. “Long nights, long days, traveling to remote places to just be able to qualify for this. Right after the draft, I was exhausted mentally and physically and went straight to the Olympic tryouts. It was a sacrifice worth making and I’m glad it worked out.”

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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