About this Item
Quantity Available: 1
Title: Venus to the Hoop: A Gold Medal Year in ...
Publication Date: 1997
Book Condition: Fine
Dust Jacket Condition: Includes dust jacket.
Signed: Signed by Author(s)
Edition: 1st Edition
About this title
They played for the gold. They played for the glory. And they played for the future of women athletes everywhere.
Few of the millions of viewers who witnessed the joyous celebration of the victorious American women's basketball team at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics could know the intense human drama, the sweat and anxieties, the hopes and the rivalries, that led up to that rapturous outpouring of emotion. Put down as male wannabes, criticized for being either too feminine or not feminine enough, female athletes had struggled for years both to define themselves and to prove their inherent worth beyond the pampered world of the macho male athlete. But at the Atlanta Olympics, all that would change. The female athlete--strong, and beautiful because she was strong--would dominate the world stage.
In the spring of 1995, twelve extraordinary basketball players were chosen to represent the United States in the yearlong march to the 1996 Olympics. For Rebecca Lobo, Sheryl Swoopes, Lisa Leslie, and their teammates, winning the gold medal was only one of many goals. Around them swirled the dreams of the millions of young girls who played organized basketball, the hopes of the fans who sent the team an average of 125 pounds of fan mail each month, the multimillion-dollar bets of Nike, Champion, and other corporate sponsors, the promise of a new women's professional league, and not least, the hopes of female athletes across the country finally to gain the respect accorded male athletes.
These women on whom so much pressure rested included a runway model (who also happened to be one of the few women players able to dunk), a forward who barely survived a car accident that left her in a coma, a collegiate sensation struggling to live up to her rep and her huge marketing contract from Reebok, a superstar known as "the female Michael Jordan," and a controversial, unrelenting coach. Nine of the women were black; three were white. Some were married, some single; some outspoken, some painfully shy. Some were rivals, some fast friends. How they came together, both on and off the court, is the subject of this wonderful celebration of the female athlete.
One of the truly inspiring sagas of the 1996 Olympics was the dominating performance of America's other Dream Team, the women's hoopsters. Led by charismatic coach Tara VanDerveer--she drove her players hard, but no harder than she drove herself--a group of 12 divergent personalities turned into an immensely appealing and cohesive unit. Between its formation and the Olympics, the team won all 51 games it played, then drove through the competition in Atlanta to win the gold medal. They also garnered some powerful intangibles--recognition, respect, and the affection of the fans--that continue to remain more elusive to women's squads than men's. Journalist Sara Corbett was given exclusive access to the team for the duration. Her vivid narrative resonates with the tension and drama of competition in the spotlight, and nicely captures the pressures the team had to shoulder in its media-hyped role.
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