Enormous Prize Boosts Excitement Levels Beyond Normal

Enormous Prize Boosts Excitement Levels Beyond Normal

Leonor Rodríguez, a celebrated player of the Spanish basketball team, is candid in expressing that the group is filled with an amplified sense of anticipation as they prepare for the Pre-Olympic tournament. This competition, scheduled to occur from Thursday to Sunday in Hungary, represents a significant step towards the coveted goal of participating in the Olympic Games. Rodríguez emphasizes the team’s “hunger” and expertise as vital attributes that could aid them in fulfilling their aspirations of securing a spot in the esteemed sporting event in Paris. The key, according to her, lies in their ability to express their true selves on the court.

In a candid conversation with Europa Press during the team’s training camp in Madrid, Rodríguez reveals her team’s mindset. She shares, “We approach the challenge with immense desire, enthusiasm, and with clear objectives. We are aware of the magnitude of what we are playing for, and the dream it represents. As of now, we are not feeling any pressure. We acknowledge the complexity of the task, but we believe that if we perform our roles well and function as a cohesive unit, we can secure victories irrespective of how aesthetically pleasing or spectacular our game is.”

As the Pre-Olympic tournament approaches, Rodríguez acknowledges the stiff competition they will face from Japan, Canada, and the host country, Hungary. She asserts, “To secure a place in the Olympic Games, one must compete and prove their mettle against the best. We are aware of the magnitude of the prize at stake and are convinced that our efforts will be worth it. The outcome may hinge on minor details, which is why maintaining a composed mind and being ourselves on the court is crucial. We hope to represent Spain with pride and distinction, and we are confident that we can achieve our goal.”

She further suggests that their collective experience and expertise will help them navigate through high-pressure situations. Rodríguez also highlights the team’s hunger to compete and succeed as a crucial factor. She warns, “This hunger to compete, to win, and to excel is the secret behind Spain’s success.”

Rodríguez identifies other strengths of the team, including their blend of experience and youth, and their dynamic and exuberant style of play. She commends, “The third strength lies in our ability to rise to the occasion in critical moments, and the unwavering support and trust we extend to each other, including our bench and the entire staff. This solidarity enables us to achieve great feats.”

Among Rodríguez’s notable achievements with the Spanish team is the historic silver medal they won in Rio 2016. However, she also experienced the disappointment of finishing in sixth place in Tokyo 2020. Despite this, she admits that the dream of competing in Paris remains alive. She feels privileged to have experienced the grandeur of the Olympic event and is mindful of the responsibility it entails.

Addressing young players, Rodríguez advises, “Enjoy every moment, keep your senses alert, and absorb as much energy and knowledge as you can. I hope to fulfill my next dream of participating in Paris 2024, for it is an experience worth striving for, and one of the pinnacle moments in any athlete’s life.” While she dreams big, Rodríguez refrains from looking beyond the Pre-Olympic tournament.

Despite the disappointment of losing the final of the last Eurobasket against Belgium, Rodríguez does not view it as a setback in their journey towards the Olympic Games. However, she does consider the opportunity to represent her country as a significant motivating factor. She expresses, “Every opportunity to don the national team’s jersey is a privilege and an honor that we must seize. Playing in the Olympics is a grand proposition. Our eagerness to succeed is even more pronounced than usual, considering the magnitude of the prize.”


Being a part of Perfumerías Avenida, Rodríguez wishes to highlight the value of the silver medal they won in the continental tournament, in spite of the natural desire to win gold. She asserts, “Winning a medal, irrespective of its color, is a challenging feat. Our silver medal is a coveted prize that many teams would aspire to have. Even though gold is the ultimate prize, I wouldn’t trade our silver medal from last year’s Eurobasket for anything.”

The silver medal marked the culmination of a transition phase for the team, which involved learning and the incorporation of new team members. This phase was initiated following their sixth-place finish in Tokyo, and their non-participation in the last World Cup after a disappointing performance in the 2021 Eurobasket. Rodríguez acknowledges, “This transition phase was instrumental to our success. It was managed with grace and dynamism, which fostered a comfortable environment for everyone on the team. This harmony within the team is of paramount importance.”

One of the latest additions to the team is Megan Gustafson, an American-born player who obtained Spanish citizenship at the end of last year. Despite being injured during the November window, Gustafson is set to play her first matches with the national team in the Pre-Olympic tournament. Rodríguez is hopeful about Gustafson’s contribution, stating, “She is going to infuse a lot of energy into the team and aid us in realizing our dream of qualifying.”

Rodríguez further elaborates, “I see her stepping up to the plate. One of Spain’s strengths is that every player can contribute significantly, and Gustafson’s role will be crucial. She can help us score points, spread the field, shoot from the outside, and contribute to our dynamic and fun style of play. She has adapted well to our team and will be a valuable asset.”