MHowever, a year after securing their place for the Tokyo Olympics, the players scattered all over the world. Their camp was hypothetical, due to COVID-19.
There were no exercises with squeaky shoes on the floor and they shouted the instructions as background noise; The athletes’ faces were placed like a chessboard on a computer screen.
The team spent 16 months without training together, but the players never lost sight of a common goal: the podium in Tokyo. In this regard, they rely on forged links over the years.
“Preparing for the games was really hard when you couldn’t stay together until the last hour,” said coach Lisa Thomedes.
“We are very fortunate to have a group that has been together for several years . . . we have this familiarity, and I think it will be very important.”
With players spread across different leagues and having to deal with strict protocols at home, Canada couldn’t really set up camp until a few weeks after heading to Tokyo.
The United States and other countries with national professional associations came together in concrete ways months ago.
“A lot of us had to do things both at home and with our teams abroad,” said Kayla Alexander, who will be her first Olympics at age 30. ‘Tough’ is a good word, but we’ve found ways to do it.
Canada ranks fourth in the world.
The team is a mix of veterans like Olympic trio Natalie Ashunwa, Kim Gaucher and Miranda Aime, and younger players like Leticia Ameher, and on it Edwards and Sheena Billington.
“We are dynamic, brave and united,” Tomides said. Our playing style will reflect that. We aim to win a medal.”
Thomaidis can’t wait to see what Amihere, a six-foot-four, 20-year-old athlete, will do on the biggest international stage.
“It’s attractive and watching a play that doesn’t look like it’s small,” said Tomides.
Achonwa, Kia Nurse, and Bridget Carleton are the three WNBA players on the team.
Canada opened the 12-team Olympic tournament on July 26 against eighth seed Serbia.
Maple Leaf faces South Korea on July 29 and Spain on August 1. These countries are ranked 19th and 3rd, respectively.
All matches will take place at the Super Arena in Saitama.