Tamika CATCHINGS

United States of America USA

Basketball

  • Olympic Medals
    4 G
  • Games participations
    4
  • First Olympic Games
    Athens 2004
  • Year of Birth
    1979
Olympic Results

Biography

Tamika CATCHINGS

Tamika Catchings won gold at each of the four Olympic Games she appeared at between Athens 2004 and Rio 2016, as did her team-mates Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi. A key player in all the teams she graced and a loyal servant of her national team for 14 years, Catchings is an undisputed legend of women’s basketball.

Overcoming adversity

Born on 21 July 1979 in Stratford, New Jersey, Catchings is the daughter of Harvey Catchings, who played for four NBA teams between 1974 and 1985. As a child she had to cope with hearing and speech impediments and had to wear a hearing aid. Teased by her schoolmates, she would often go home in tears. “At some point in elementary school, I realized something,” she said. “My peers could say whatever they wanted to about my disability, but if I worked hard enough, I could be better than them at something – maybe I had an advantage after all. My father played in the NBA for 11 years and he passed some of that athleticism onto my siblings and me.”

Devoted to the game

“That’s why basketball came into my life. I knew that if I practised and got really, really good, people couldn’t make fun of me. So I practised and practised and practised, and that’s where the passion came from.” Catchings shone on the courts in her high-school years and with the Tennessee Lady Volunteers in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) women’s basketball competition. A turning point in her career came when she was training with the USA junior national team in Colorado in 1996, when they received a surprise visit from the players who had just won Olympic gold at the Atlanta Games that year. “It was like the greatest moment. I was like: ‘I want to be them. I want to be on that team someday’,” recalled Catchings.

The Olympic adventure begins

In 2001 she was drafted by WNBA franchise Indiana Fever, where she would spend her entire career. The following year, the power forward – who is 1.88m tall and weighs 76kg – made her international debut for the USA at the World Championships in China, where the Americans beat Russia 79-74 in the final. Forming part of an exciting new generation of players, along with Bird and Taurasi, Catchings made the USA squad for Athens 2004, where she teamed up with a cohort of more experienced performers. “My biggest role with that team was defense,” she recalled. “I was trying to bridge the gap between the younger players and the older players, with them passing that torch on to our generation.” The Americans were in a class of their own in the Greek capital, winning all of their matches en route to the final, where they defeated Australia 74-63, giving Catchings the first Olympic gold medal of her career.

Olympic Results

More results
Olympic Results
Results Event Sport

Rio 2016

G
Basketball
Basketball Basketball
Olympic Results
Results Event Sport

London 2012

G
Basketball
Basketball Basketball
Olympic Results
Results Event Sport

Beijing 2008

G
Basketball
Basketball Basketball
Olympic Results
Results Event Sport

Athens 2004

G
Basketball
Basketball Basketball