Updated Aug 4, 2021 - Sports

Basketball star Sue Bird enters Tokyo Olympics chasing 5th gold medal

Sue Bird dribbling a basketball.

Sue Bird dribbles the ball during the AT&T WNBA All-Star Game on July 14 at Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo: Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

When there was no WNBA in the early 1990s, a then-teenaged Sue Bird looked to Olympic women basketball players for inspiration. Decades later, Bird — one of the greatest WNBA players of all time — enters the Tokyo Olympics chasing her fifth gold medal.

The big picture: Bird, 40, began her Olympic journey in 2004 in Athens. She has since helped Team USA win four gold medals. The Seattle Storm point guard will likely wrap up her Olympic career in Tokyo, according to TIME.

  • Other Team USA athletes picked Bird and baseball player Eddy Alvarez to carry the U.S. flag at the opening ceremony. She’s the second U.S. women’s basketball player to carry the flag.
When to watch:
  • Group play:
    • July 27 - USA defeated Nigeria, 81-72
    • July 30 - USA beat Japan, 86-69
    • Aug. 2 - USA beat France, 93-82
  • Quarterfinals:
    • Aug. 4 - USA beat Australia, 79-55
  • Semifinals:
    • Aug. 6 - USA vs Serbia 12:40 a.m. ET
  • Bronze medal game: Aug. 7
  • Gold medal game: Aug. 7
Olympics medals...
  • 2004 Athens Games: 🥇
  • 2008 Beijing Games: 🥇
  • 2012 London Games:🥇
  • 2016 Rio Games: 🥇
What she’s saying:
  • “It’ll mean a lot—for me growing up there was no WNBA so the Olympics was always the end all, be all, the ultimate goal,” Bird recently told Complex.
  • “So to have a chance to do it for a fifth time is incredible. To represent your country is incredible. To go into other countries is incredible. However it shakes out, I’m excited about it.”
Impressive facts:
  • She was drafted into the WNBA as the no. 1 pick in 2002 by the Seattle Storm.
  • She has four WNBA titles.
  • In her 17 seasons with the WNBA, she has played a record 16,430 regular-season minutes and 519 games, per USA Today.
  • Bird is also a star off the court, helping lead the fight for gender equality and speaking out for racial justice and LGBTQ rights.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with results.

Go deeper