Olympics roundup: Taurasi, Bird lead U.S. women

Associated Press

New York — Four-time Olympians Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird and Tamika Catchings headline the U.S. women’s national team roster heading to Brazil for the Rio Games this summer.

The trio will be joined by newcomers Elena Delle Donne, Brittney Griner and Breanna Stewart.

Maya Moore, Seimone Augustus, Lindsay Whalen, Angel McCoughtry, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles round out the American squad, announced Wednesday morning.

The roster gives coach Geno Auriemma plenty of options as the U.S. goes for its sixth consecutive gold medal.

“When you look at the team there’s a little bit of everything; a little bit of youth, a little bit of the middle and then there is the veterans,” Auriemma told said. “There’s some size and there’s lot of flexibility to handle things a lot of different ways. Everyone that’s on the team is on the team for a purpose. They feel like they can do something that’s unique for the team.

“The ones that won gold medals in the world championship and the Olympics, they are invaluable and yet everyone’s role changes every year. Whatever role you played in 2012 didn’t necessarily mean you will play that role now.”

The Americans have won 41 consecutive Olympic contests dating to the bronze medal game in 1992.

Taurasi, Bird and Catchings were all part of the gold medal teams in 2004, 2008 and 2012. Nine of the players were on the 2012 Olympic team.

The three veterans join Teresa Edwards and Lisa Leslie as the only Americans to play in at least four Olympics. Edwards played in five Olympics while Leslie was in four.

Uniforms unveiled

Olympic athletes from the United States will look ready to sail back home when they attend the closing ceremony at this year’s games in Rio de Janeiro.

The U.S. Olympic Committee debuted the parade uniforms made by Polo Ralph Lauren during NBC’s “Today” show Wednesday. American athletes in the Olympics and Paralympics will wear red, white and blue button-down shirts worn over a striped T-shirt, white chino shorts and boat shoes.

And don’t forget the red, white and blue striped belt that completes the nautical-themed look described as “crisp, sporty and classic” in a U.S. Olympic Committee news release.

Four years ago, USOC and Ralph Lauren officials heard criticism from members of Congress when it was revealed Team USA apparel such as berets, blazers and pants were made in China instead of in the U.S. for the London Games.

Company officials said apparel for U.S. Olympic athletes would be made in America for the 2014 Sochi Games.

Apparel for the Opening and Closing ceremonies at the Rio Games also will be made in the United States.

Michelle Obama speaks

First lady Michelle Obama wrapped up her speech to dozens of U.S. athletes to mark 100 days before the Rio Games and immediately headed over to a temporary court set up in the middle of Times Square.

There she was greeted by Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad, the two women sharing a long embrace. Muhammad is set to become the first American to compete in the Olympics while wearing a hijab.

“I feel like I’m in this position and I have to use it, and I want to use it well,” Muhammad said.