Pau Gasol Officially Inducted into Basketball Hall of Fame

Pau Gasol has officially entered the Hall…

The 43-year-old Spanish former professional basketball player, a six-time NBA All-Star and a four-time All-NBA team selection, has been enshrined into Basketball Hall of Fame alongside Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker during a ceremony held at Symphony Hall on Saturday.

Pau GasolGasol shouted out his national team — “mi familia” — before joining what might be the greatest international class of inductees in the Springfield shrine’s history.

“I want to give a special mention to those first Europeans, who came here, across the ocean, who took a chance,” said Gasol, who fell in love with the sport when the 1992 Olympic Games were held in his hometown, Barcelona. “I was 12. It changed my life. The Dream Team showed us how basketball could be played.”

In 2002, Gasol was the NBA‘s first international rookie of the year.

Gasol played his last two healthy seasons with the San Antonio Spurs.

Gasol thanked the late Kobe Bryant, his teammate on two Los Angeles Lakers NBA championship teams, who died in a 2020 helicopter crash along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others.


“I wouldn’t be here without you, brother,” Gasol said. “I wish more than anything that you and Gigi were here today with us. I miss you and love you.”

The inductees received their Hall of Fame rings and jackets Friday at a news conference.

Fernandez to Serve as the U.S. Women’s Tennis Team Coach at the Olympics

Mary Joe Fernandez is ready to help the U.S. see gold in Rio…

The 44-year-old Dominican American tennis player will coach the U.S. women’s tennis team at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.

Mary Joe Fernandez

The U.S. Tennis Association announced the Olympic coaching staff on Thursday.

The Olympic tennis competition runs from Aug. 6-14.

Fernandez has coached the U.S. Fed Cup team since 2009, and she coached the women’s Olympic tennis team four years ago.

As a player, she won gold medals in doubles at the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games.

“To be able to represent the U.S. for a fourth time at the Olympics is a tremendous honor,” Fernandez said. “I’m excited and looking forward to helping the top American women as they look to capture medals in Rio.”

The U.S. tennis roster for Rio will be announced in the coming weeks.

Ibargüen Gives Colombia Its First Olympic Track Medal in 20 Years

London Olympics 2012

Talk about saving the best for last…

Caterine Ibargüen claimed the silver medal in the women’s triple jump at the 2012 Olympic Games with a 14.80 meter jump on her last attempt in the finals on Sunday at the London Games.

Caterine Ibargüen

The 28-year-old Colombian track star—who won the bronze at last year’s world championships in Daegu, South Korea—had maintained the second place position most of the night before pre-Olympics favorite Olha Saladuha of Ukraine pushed past her on her last jump of 14.79 meters.

Not to be outdone, Ibargüen went one centimeter better than Saladuha in her last attempt to reclaim second place and push Saladuha into the bronze medal position.

Caterine Ibargüen
Kazakhstan’s Olga Rypakova—who had claimed the silver at last year’s world championships—claimed the gold with a leap of 14.98 meters.

Ibarguen— who began her athletic career 12 years ago and convinced her paternal grandmother and legal guardian to take her to Medellin at age 14 to train, helped give Colombia its first medal in track & field in 20 years. By taking home the silver, she improved on Ximena Restrepo’s bronze medal performance at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona.

Román & Avitia Give Mexico Its First-Ever Olympic Medals in Archery

London Olympics 2012

Despite being thisclose to winning a gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games, Aída Román has plenty of reason to be proud.

The 24-year-old Mexican archer had to settle for silver in women’s individual archery at the London Games on Thursday after losing a tense, sudden-death shoot-off against South Korea’s Ki Bo-bae.

Aída Román

After a disappointing fourth set at Lord’s Cricket Ground, Román rallied to take the fifth and force the decisive shoot-off. Ki shot first and hit an 8. Román matched it, but Ki’s arrow was closer to the center, giving her the victory.

“Strictly speaking, it wasn’t that difficult a shot,” said the two-time Olympian about the shot that cost her the gold, “but it became a lot more complicated.”

Aída Román & Mariana Avitia

But Román’s silver is still a remarkable feat for Mexico, a nation that had never won an Olympic medal in archery. And, Mexico now has two of them.

Roman was joined on the podium by her fellow countrywoman Mariana Avitia, who came from behind to beat American Khatuna Lorig in the bronze medal match.

Mariana Avitia

The 18-year-old Mexican archer beat the Lorig—the woman who taught Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence how to shoot the bow and arrow she used while portraying Katniss in the recent Hollywood blockbuster—6-2 in the bronze medal match.

Trailing 4-2 going into the fourth set, Lorig hit a 10 so perfectly centered that it hit the camera hole and bounced off the target. Avitia followed with a 7, and Lorig had an opening. She followed with an 8, and Avitia answered with a 9. But Lorig’s third arrow was a disastrous 6, giving the bronze to Avitia and denying Lorig a second medal in her fifth Olympics and 20 years after her first — a bronze in the team event at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona.