The debut of 3×3 basketball on the Summer season Olympics used to be a rousing success, notably for the US females’s team tranquil of Stefanie Dolson, Allisha Gray, Kelsey Plum, and Jackie Young. The Individuals went 8-1 and came residence with the match’s inaugural gold medal.
The scurry of the game appears to be like suited to faster guards, and yet 6’5 Dolson — identified as Colossal Mama Stef — played some of the crucial absolute best basketball of her profession en path to the gold, making 72.3 percent of her self-discipline-goal makes an try and factual being a overall nuisance for any opponent searching to get to the basket.
Dolson spoke to SB Nation about what it took to winning gold and the characteristic her UCAN energy products played in getting her to her physical high.
Exhibit: This interview has been lightly edited for readability.
SB Nation: How does it in actuality feel to be an Olympic gold medalist? Has it sunk in yet, attain you name your self that in case you acknowledge the cell phone? How does it work?
Stefanie Dolson: I don’t. I got to look Allisha (Gray) the day before this present day, we played Dallas. And I talked about, “What’s up Gold Medal Lish?” cuz she talked about she easiest wished to be known as that. I failed to, nevertheless it’s been in actuality plentiful. I mean, my family, guests, my teammates, it’s factual, I don’t know, factual overwhelming with how noteworthy admire and help and pleasure everyone’s given me. So it’s positively self-discipline in. I mediate at this level now it’s admire, I practically maintain to set up it to the aspect because now I’m interested in factual our Chicago games, nevertheless I mean it’s somewhat amazing. I tranquil witness at it, I’m admire, wow, that in actuality came about.
SBN: Maintain you should well perchance well perchance furthermore simply maintain any special plans for the medal?
SD: I don’t mediate so. I’m gonna get a tattoo even though, I factual maintain to get it. But not the medal. I mean, I’m searching to figure out what to attain with it, to be beautiful.
SBN: are you gonna get the Olympic rings tattoo?
SD: Yeah, I’m fascinated about getting the rings or in actuality getting the Olympiad that’s on the help, admire the angel-taking a look thing. I noticed a tattoo admire that, it appeared in actuality frigid, so up within the air.
SBN: I wanted to set up a query to you somewhat about 3×3 because I know USA, obviously in case you’re phase of — notably the females’s basketball program — for five on five, there’s an expectation of winning, and I used to be inviting at the same time as you happen to guys had that identical kind of expectation going in for 3×3 provided that it used to be a new tournament.
SD: Yeah, I mediate there used to be because, you understand, not easiest factual USA basketball, nevertheless factual the WNBA, admire every of basketball within the U.S., there’s an expectation of being in actuality plentiful at it. So for us it used to be factual admire, we’re WNBA gamers. We practically positioned on ourselves that stress, admire we have got to be the good. So going into it I mediate I used to be in actuality anxious, I mean the predominant game of the Olympics I used to be — we were all freaking out. I used to be pondering it’s so diversified when in contrast to the qualifying tournament. So there’s positively that stress and expectation of searching to be the good, searching to purchase the gold. It used to be there.
SBN: What used to be the day admire in case you guys stumbled on out that Katie Lou Samuelson wasn’t gonna be ready to procedure help and Jackie (Young) used to be gonna be taking her order?
SD: That day used to be factual a roller coaster. All of it kind of came about so rapidly, too, you understand, discovering out that she examined sure and then subsequent it used to be admire, “k properly now what will we attain?” After which an hour later, we’re admire, k Jackie Young’s on the plane apt now coming, admire straight from a saunter. So it used to be in actuality sad, my heart factual went out for (Katie Lou) and it factual broke for her because I know the design exhausting she worked to get us to that level and the design noteworthy time she set up into it. So it used to be in actuality in actuality exhausting, nevertheless Jackie used to be amazing to factual procedure straight from saunter. She knew all of the plays the predominant day, we worked out with her and stuff, so I used to be factual in actuality impressed with the design that she used to be ready to jump apt into it with us.
SBN: So it doesn’t seem admire there used to be noteworthy of an acclimation assignment as soon as Jackie got there?
SD: We didn’t maintain time for it. She needed to be acclimated immediate.
SBN: I read about the overall physical transformations that you needed to undergo to get ready for this. I know you talked about you stopped ingesting and you misplaced all this weight — did you furthermore maintain to trade the design you play your game to be ready for 3×3, or used to be it extra factual admire making ready for the velocity?
SD: Yeah, I mediate all of it kind of intertwines. For me, truthfully my entire profession, my greatest fight has been conditioning, you understand my capability to be rapid on my toes and factual agile. So, after quarantine and all that stuff, being at residence, it used to be rough, and then I got injured. So I needed to kind of trade all the issues: my diet, my standard of living. I focused so exclusively on basketball, I set up all the issues aside attributable to 3×3, nevertheless furthermore attributable to, you understand, the WNBA. Both design it used to be for my profession. And phase of it used to be 3×3 for the reason that design the game is played. It’s so rapid. Half the time I’m guarding a guard. If I didn’t attain that, I don’t know that we would maintain been as winning as we were.
SBN: How did the UCAN utter into your physical transformation, for lack of a greater word?
SD: Yeah it’s been good, truthfully. It goes apt in with kind of that factual healthy dwelling, that healthy standard of living, because it’s far pure and plant essentially based exclusively, and it’s zero sugar. Quite a spread of the issues that I in overall expend are admire in actuality high in sugar and I’ll in overall smash, nevertheless after I’m practicing, and even the old few games here within the WNBA, I’ve been using the UCAN for the length of the games with the electrolytes and all the issues and it’s factual admire, I in actuality feel a distinction because I don’t smash. After which on high of that I don’t in actuality feel kind of that guilt of admire, ughhh I factual had so noteworthy sugar with whether it’s admire Gatorade or no subject you’re ingesting or eating. So the UCAN products maintain been kind of that good product to compare into this new standard of living, at the same time as you happen to will.
SBN: You’d been using them for a immediate time sooner than you bought to Tokyo?
SD: Yeah, a pair of weeks.
SBN: After which, obviously, it’s good to always have maintain felt the distinction at the same time as you were in Tokyo since you killed it.
SD: We were practicing, we were doing warmth practicing in Vegas, to kind of prepare for Tokyo because we knew how scorching it can most likely be. So I used to be using the products there in Vegas to kind of discontinuance hydrated, and protein-engaging for the reason that meals they’d for us used to be somewhat heavy more often than not, so I used to be ready to expend the UCAN products for protein sooner than we were going to determine.
SBN: What used to be the most disturbing phase of that experience in Tokyo? Changed into as soon because it the warmth or the diet or the caliber of the opposition, admire what in actuality caught out to you?
SD: I factual mediate it used to be all of it. I don’t mediate we all were exclusively ready for it except we got there, you understand, even the warmth practicing, it used to be admire oh it’ll be good, and then we get there and it’s not easiest the warmth practicing, nevertheless the sun is, you’re literally shooting with the sun in your eyes. So there’s admire so many diversified aspects that kind of hit you. Someday we’re shooting, and we’re playing within the rain, obviously there’s some disguise over us, nevertheless it’s humid, issues are wet and slippery, so it’s all factual the aspects. After which obviously the teams that we were playing. I don’t mediate we realized how exhausting playing them can be, so factual the overall experience used to be extraordinarily refined.
SBN: I mean you guys easiest misplaced as soon as, and that came after you’d already self-discipline your residence within the knockout rounds, so what attain you mediate used to be the the good key to you being so winning?
SD: I in actuality feel admire it used to be factual staying the course. We knew every team used to be gonna give us their good game and play as exhausting as they could well furthermore simply. And for us we factual interested in ourselves, admire it didn’t in actuality subject who we were playing, it used to be factual play our game, you understand, play stable, don’t get caught up with the refs, and even the games that we received, they were shut. It used to be because we factual stayed the course, we interested in what our final goal used to be. After which we were factual ready to kind of pull out these games because sure, we misplaced one, and everyone kept announcing that, nevertheless just a few of them were valid shut, because these teams were factual so amazing and it used to be for a gold medal, you understand it’s not purported to be easy. So, it used to be in actuality tricky.
SBN: Yeah, I in actuality feel admire every time I checked a secure, it used to be admire 21-17 or 21-18.
SD: It used to be shut, yeah. True shut.
SBN: Yeah, it’s so nervy because with the clock too, factual all the issues feels so compressed and so heightened and I mean I take into consideration factual admire the experience of competing in stress scenarios helps prepare you for WNBA and diversified leagues that you play in, nevertheless admire on the a similar time it factual felt so diversified, admire, oh my god, issues are occurring so immediate.
SD: Hundred percent. Our first — the Austria qualifying tournament — that used to be the predominant time I had ever in actuality played 3×3 in that kind of tournament. And after I voice you my fear and anxiousness the night time sooner than a game, or admire 20 minutes sooner than a game. It’s factual extraordinarily heightened attributable to what you factual talked about, all the issues’s so compressed and immediate, that you should well perchance well perchance furthermore lose the game within the predominant minute, when in contrast to a 40 minute game that’s up and down. So it’s a immediate game and it’s high fear, nevertheless very fun.
SBN: How did you design that decision that you wished to be a phase of 3×3 because I’m definite you had thoughts about playing within the 5-on-5 nationwide team pool at cases in your profession?
SD: Yeah properly, 5-on-5 obviously, there’s so many amazing gamers. I’ve been within the pool and factual been with USA basketball for a truly very lengthy time. And so I mediate they’ve viewed how noteworthy exhausting work, and the design noteworthy time I’ve set up in with USA basketball, so it used to be in actuality them giving me that opportunity. There are so noteworthy of gamers in 5-on-5, nevertheless we have got this opportunity with 3×3, would you choose to try it, and I used to be admire yeah, obviously. So I tried it, I didn’t know if I’d admire it or if I will be apt at it. But when I played, it kind of match somewhat seamlessly with the design that I play basketball. Because at UConn we were in actuality taught admire 3-on-3 and then you should well perchance well perchance furthermore simply maintain 2-on-2 games, so I kind of factual slot in somewhat naturally and I in actuality loved playing it.
SBN: I converse we must tranquil recount about the Sky. How attain you’re feeling similar to you’ve turn correct into a greater participant admire thru this experience over the closing year, and the design does that translate to your efficiency with Chicago?
SD: I factual mediate for me it’s my self perception. You admire deal of cases that goes up and down with the design that I play. But I mediate it’s factual admire that self perception and sparkling what I inform to the desk, and what my characteristic is on a team. And for me with the Chicago Sky it’s admire, you understand I could well furthermore simply not continuously secure, nevertheless I’m a plentiful facilitator, I show conceal plenty for our gamers to secure. So it’s in actuality factual increasing into that characteristic of what kind of participant they need me to be. But yeah, it’s factual admire that maturity of sparkling what you inform to the desk.
SBN: You guys maintain a in actuality numerous and talented from court docket in Chicago, admire I’m fascinated about Astou (Ndour) who used to be factual killing it within the Olympics with Spain, and clearly Candace (Parker) and Ruthy (Hebard)’s there now and Azura (Stevens). There’s factual so many diversified items, what is your characteristic becoming into all of that?
SD: Ethical being kind of that large physique that can attain one thing else that they need me to. If it’s show conceal, frigid, within the occasion that they need me to secure, I’ll secure. Facilitate, plentiful, protection, plentiful. Ethical no subject they need me to attain, you understand, I mediate that’s the good phase about our team is that we’re so versatile. In diversified games and diversified teams, our matchups are going to be diversified because we’re all in actuality appropriate at diversified issues. So it’s kind of admire, you understand keeping diversified teams on their toes with what kind of Chicago team they’ll get.
SBN: Over the final couple years, I in actuality feel admire the reputation of Chicago has been factual this standout offensive team, the units you guys traipse are so radiant, and then this year I mediate your document is ready the a similar, nevertheless, you understand, the protection has in actuality picked up nevertheless the offense has procedure down somewhat bit. I’m inviting, why attain you mediate that has came about?
SD: I don’t know. I attain in actuality feel as even though we have got set up a elevated emphasis on protection. Sadly, it hasn’t resulted in as noteworthy offense as I mediate we were hoping it would. Plus I mediate teams are factual scouting us properly, I mean they know that we opt to be in transition, that is our bread and butter, and that has been for the past few years. So I attain mediate that teams are doing a somewhat apt job of getting help on us when we attain get a discontinue, so it’s factual about discovering what works for us, you understand what lineups work, what matchups work, and kind of sticking with these and factual kind of riding it out from there.
SBN: Is there one thing else in particular that you in actuality desire to enhance on for the closing 10-11 games of the season, or for the team as a entire?
SD: I mediate for me, factual being extra aggressive. I mediate since I’ve been help from the Olympics I’ve turn out to be somewhat bit extra aggressive. I don’t continuously — because we have got deal of scorers, or of us which could have the flexibility to scoring, I in overall get somewhat passive with my photographs. But I mediate it’s kinda admire why not, you understand? I know I will shoot the ball so I mediate I’m factual gonna be extra aggressive and extra versatile in what offensively.
SBN: I maintain a pair of random questions sooner than we get out of here, nevertheless you went to Connecticut with Breanna Stewart, apt? I in actuality feel admire we’re dwelling within the golden age of Stewie apt now and I’m inviting, did you witness that in case you were with her in college? Did you witness the initiate of one thing this special with her?
SD: 100% I mean, she used to be plentiful help then at UConn, and then she factual kept bettering after I graduated. I don’t mediate I knew it used to be gonna be this noteworthy, you understand, gonna be this apt, nevertheless I knew she used to be gonna be apt. If truth be told apt. But I mean, she’s factual amazing, and she’s an improbable particular person, I mean that’s what makes it even greater is admire getting the overall accolades and awards that she’s getting and whatnot, she deserves it, you understand, and she’s this kind of plentiful particular person and humble that I’m factual in actuality chuffed for her.
SBN: What’s the experience admire searching to guard her?
SD: I don’t know, I don’t ever guard her. If I guard her, it’s in overall because we switched for some extraordinary reason, and if it happens, I factual face guard her. I factual witness at her, I factual received’t even reduction anybody, because I don’t desire you to get the ball because at the same time as you happen to get the ball, you’re potentially gonna secure on me. That’s my design of guarding her.
SBN: After which I furthermore wished to set up a query to, you understand we’re on the level, 25 years of the WNBA, the set aside of us who were coming into the league now grew up with the WNBA so they’d a relationship with the league ideally after they were increasing up. What used to be your relationship admire with the WNBA in case you were youthful? Did you admire maintain a approved team, were you dreaming about changing correct into a talented?
SD: I in actuality failed to. So, for me, I factual didn’t know I will be apt at basketball admire this, and even maintain this chance. I wasn’t awaiting to head to varsity for basketball, I played volleyball in center college too, so it used to be kind of admire I continuously loved volleyball too, so I didn’t mediate I’d attain one thing else with basketball. After which scholarships started occurring and I used to be admire, oh, k, perchance I will be somewhat apt. After which UConn came about, and then the league. So increasing up I factual by no procedure opinion that used to be a chance for me except I in actuality got to varsity, then I used to be admire k, I mediate I will design the league and I mediate I is ceaselessly a phase of it, so. Yeah, sadly it used to be not nevertheless it’s in actuality plentiful to know that diversified ladies now are increasing up and seeing the league and factual our game the diversified day towards Seattle used to be one among the tip-viewed games, so seeing issues admire that, it factual reveals how noteworthy extra viewership we’re getting, which is superior.
SBN: The set aside does the nickname Colossal Mama Stef procedure from?
SD: Literally nowhere. It’s factual admire, my pal in college, you understand, he factual known as me Colossal Mama Stef someday, and it factual caught, I mean I’m motherly, admire I factual desire of us to be sorted, admire I’d attain one thing else for anybody. I don’t know if I desire to be a mom, so it’s kinda weird and wonderful nevertheless, yeah, it’s not in actuality noteworthy to it.
SBN: It’s amusing I used to be talking to my brother. The old day I told him that I’d maintain a gamble to chat to you and he’s admire oh, Colossal Mama Stef, and I used to be admire yeah, Stefanie Dolson.
SD: That’s all they known as me in Tokyo and the qualifying tournament, it used to be admire, “Colossal Mama!”
SBN: I converse 3×3 has somewhat bit extra flair to it, so nicknames kind of work, apt?
SD: Yeah, noteworthy extra flair.