"When I left Dallas a month ago, I left with one goal in mind, and that was to win a gold medal," WNBA Dallas Wings Forward Allisha Gray, and now Olympic Gold Medalist, reflected. "To be able to say that I'm an Olympian is one thing -- but to be able to say [that] I'm a gold medalist is an incredible feeling."
Gray, along with United States teammates Kelsey Plum, Stefanie Dolson and Jackie Young, made the trek to Tokyo to compete in the Olympic debut of the Women's 3x3 basketball tournament. With a historic win over Russia, the women's team solidified the first-ever gold medal win, catapulting the inaugural rendition of the sport. The fast-paced, high-energy game was highlighted as a favorite during the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, with Gray quickly cast into the spotlight.
Now, back in Dallas, Gray cradles her new gold medal and reflects on all of the training camps, quarantining, strict protocols and even the sacrifices her family made earlier in her journey and said, "It was all worth it."
A small-town girl with an even larger dream, Gray reminisces on humble beginnings spurred from her upbringing in Sandersfield, Georgia. Even then, the hoops star set her sights high and knew she wanted to be an Olympian -- and moreso, an Olympic champion. Now, donning a newly minted medal, Gray is in no rush to set new goals, but to savor in the precious moment of a lifelong dream now realized.
"I'm living in the moment," Gray said. "My focus is just on enjoying my first goal medal, and on the [WNBA] season, so I'm going to take things step by step."
Following the completion of the Tokyo Olympics, Dallas' Reunion Tower celebrated gold medals of North Texans by illuminating a special light show to celebrate their accomplishments, with Gray's being amongst the midst. "It definitely was an honor. The Reunion Tower is a big deal in Dallas, so for them to light it up specifically for me, thank you," Gray said.
The legendary tower hosted the athlete at its GeO-Deck August 11th in order to commemorate her recent win -- an eminent gesture also symbolic of her rise to the top. Surrounded by her teammates, coaches and friends, this second trip to Reunion Tower for Gray, will ultimately be one to remember.
"I'm overjoyed with the support that [my family, friends, coaches and teammates] have given me," Gray said. "They have supported me nonstop and I'm just happy to get that with them as a team, in order to finish out the season."
When questioned on next steps, future plans and immediate goals, the Dallas Wings Forward stated the obvious of winning a WNBA championship, but of course her sights are set on additional Olympic appearances. "I hope to continue to have the opportunity to represent the USA for many more Olympic games and to continue to make you all proud."
As for other Olympic hopefuls or other young girls with big dreams, the recipe of success (according to Gray), is truly simple. "Continue to dream big," she emphasized. "Don't let [anyone] tell you that you can't achieve anything. You're in control of your own destiny. Continue to do you and don't let anyone stop you from doing what you want to do."
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