The following is an excerpt from an article written by Kate Fagan for ESPNW:
The wind was whipping. The temperature was dipping. What had been rain was now sleet. The members of the U.S. women's national team were sitting in their cars outside a middle school track in Colorado Springs, Colo., their headlights illuminating the conditions. And every player was thinking the same thing: No way we're running in this.
It was early October, and they were gathered for their conditioning test, which was a timed 2-mile run. The selection committee had chosen the first 11 players back in May: Sheryl Swoopes, Lisa Leslie, Katrina McClain, Teresa Edwards, Dawn Staley, Nikki McCray, Rebecca Lobo, Jennifer Azzi, Katy Steding, Ruthie Bolton and Carla McGhee. They were a delicate blend of experience, talent and marketability. They needed to win gold, yes, but they also needed to capture the public's imagination along the way, proving that women's hoops could carve out space in America's already crowded sports landscape.
The newly formed team had flown overseas for games in Lithuania and Italy that spring of 1995, but then disbanded for the summer, each player going home with a training schedule in hand. Every week, they mailed their workout results to VanDerveer, who meticulously compiled the numbers. Now, with the temperature near freezing, the team was together again at a small track near the U.S. Olympic training facility -- and the players figured Mother Nature had bought them a day off.
They were wrong. "Some of them, they weren't used to working like this," VanDerveer recalls. "I can't say people loved it, but they eventually embraced it. They were proud of the fact they became so fit and strong."
Everyone made their times except Leslie, McGhee and Lobo. All three became members of VanDerveer's "Breakfast Club," which required them to run the test each morning until they broke 16 minutes. The 6-foot-4 Lobo was the last to pass, doing so on the fourth day.
For the next nine months, the team lifted weights and conditioned every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Whether it was a game day or a travel day, they worked out, recording each sprint and lift in a binder VanDerveer had distributed. The first page of everyone's binder was a photocopy of Edwards' gold medal from the 1988 Seoul Games.
Just before the Olympics, the players were invited to the White House to jog along the Potomac with President Bill Clinton. Before the run, a White House aide pulled VanDerveer aside and asked, "What if the girls have trouble keeping up with him?" The coach thought to herself, Then I will cut those girls on the spot.
Read the entire article: http://es.pn/Mne4Np