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Basketball legend named in Australia's Olympic squad seven weeks after announcing international retirement

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26th March, 2024

Basketball superstar Lauren Jackson has been included in the extended Opals squad for the Paris Olympics, despite announcing her retirement from the international scene.

Jackson was on Wednesday named in coach Sandy Brondello’s extended 26-player squad that will take part in training camps, tours and fixtures in the lead-up to the Games, which begin on July 26.

The final 12-player team to fight for medals in the French capital will be selected from the extended squad.

The 42-year-old Jackson – arguably Australia’s greatest-ever basketball player – announced her retirement from the Opals in February after Australia qualified for the Games with an 85-52 thumping of Germany in Brazil. 

“I’m done,” Jackson, who was part of the Opals’ victorious 2006 World Cup campaign in the South American country, said at the time. 

“I love Brazil, Brazil has been very good to me.

“How fitting that I get to finish my national career with Australia in Brazil. It’s very special.”

But less than seven weeks later, she has been named in a squad that includes 11 members of the team that took bronze at the World Cup in 2022. 


Jackson has won four Olympic medals, including silver at three consecutive Games, starting with Sydney in 2000 when she competed as a teenager.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 29: Lauren Jackson of Australia in action during the 2022 FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup Quarterfinal match between Australia and Belgium at Sydney Superdome, on September 29, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

“It’s always an exciting time to announce an Olympic squad and I congratulate all the athletes,” Brondello said.  

“They all know what it means to play for Australia and they all want the opportunity to represent their country at an Olympics.

“Our squad is full of exceptional talent and they will make the decision to pick a final 12 very difficult.”

The Olympic draw, conducted last week by Opals legend and former Australia captain Penny Taylor in Switzerland, has the Opals grouped in Pool B alongside Canada, Nigeria and host nation France.


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