The Rio de Janeiro Games will mark the second consecutive Olympiad in which Angel McCoughtry will be part of the United States' women's basketball team. She helped the team to a gold medal in the London Games, scoring seven points during the 86-50 championship game win against France.
McCoughtry, a forward/guard, has been a WNBA All-Star in four of her first seven seasons, all with the Atlanta Dream. She has also helped the national team to two gold medals in the World Championships. The Americans are overwhelming favorites to win gold again in Rio.
The Louisville alum was born and raised in Baltimore and played for legendary coach Jerome Shelton at St. Frances.
How will this trip to the Olympics be different for you than your trip in 2012?
Angel McCoughtry: I would say the difference now is [that] I'm definitely a lot older; I have way more experience. When I went to the 2012 Olympics, I was very young, I didn't know what to expect. I was excited; I was in awe of everything. Now, I can be more of that player that really can just help the team; come in with my experience and help us win the gold.
What does it mean to you to be one of only a few Olympians from Baltimore?
AM: Baltimore [is where I was] born and raised. I remember growing up, I was the only girl on the basketball court, and we got overshadowed a lot. So, just to let the young ladies know in Baltimore that there is an opportunity, I never thought I would be an Olympian. I just played down the street at Northwood Elementary School every day, just because I liked the game. And look what it's brought me to. I've always told the kids in Baltimore find something, a passion that you like, because it can take you very far.
How important was Coach Shelton's role in getting you to this point in your career?
AM: Coach Shelton, he definitely holds a special place in my heart, because when a lot of people overlooked me and my talent, Coach Shelton saw something in me that a lot of people didn't see. And I struggled in the classroom, so a lot of schools didn't really want to deal with me. But Coach Shelton said 'Hey, come to St. Frances, we're going to help you build up your grades, and help you as a basketball player.' And when I got there, my grades lifted up, and I became a better basketball player, and we won championships and everything. So, you know, he was definitely like a second father figure to me.