For many athletes, an Olympic gold medal is the culmination of a lifetime spent focused on achieving nothing else. But Jackie Young, who recently won gold at the 2020 Tokyo Games, didn’t start thinking seriously about competing until less than two weeks ago.
On Wednesday, July 28, Jackie won gold with Team USA as one of four athletes—along with Stefanie Dolson, Allisha Gray and Kelsey Plum—on the 3×3 women’s basketball squad. This was the inaugural year of competition for the event, with the Americans topping ROC in the gold medal game by a score of 18 to 15.
But Jackie, a 23-year-old player for the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces, didn’t have much time to prepare. After Katie Lou Samuelson, who was supposed to be the fourth member of the group, tested positive for COVID-19 with just a week left before competition started, Jackie received a call on July 17 while vacationing in Florida amid the league’s month-long Olympic break.