Aug. 2, 2012
In a special Olympic edition of "Catching Up", MGoBlue.com talked to former Wolverine Krista Phillips (2007-10) about being a member of the Canadian National Team, her time at Michigan and experiencing the 2012 Opening Ceremony. She is the first Olympian in Michigan women's basketball history.
On how she became a member of the national team ... "I tried out the summer before my freshman year of college and was cut. I ended up playing with the junior national team. That was really my first experience with a national team. After that, I had to sit out the summers while I was at Michigan due to injury, so I was more than ready to get back into the program after my senior year of college. I was asked to come to the try-out by invitation and have been with the team ever since."
On being part of this team ... "It is great. I love playing in the summers with these women. Our team has a college feel in terms of the dedication and camaraderie we all have and how proud we are to play for our country and wear Canada on our chest. We travel all over playing teams from so many different countries. It's an amazing way to see the world and play a game that I love and have dedicated my life to."
On how her time at Michigan prepared her ... "I learned so many things at Michigan that have helped shape me into this person I am. Michigan is a very loving place to be. The fans are so loyal and supportive, and having people like that behind you make it possible to travel to foreign places and eat foreign foods and play the best basketball of your life. I learned that it is so important to be in control of the things you can control, like how many hours you put in the gym, how hard you run, how much of yourself you give, and to let go of the things you cannot control. When we are traveling, our schedule changes on a daily basis, so it is important to be flexible. We can't have any high-maintenance players on our team or things wouldn't flow."
On the expectations in London ... "Our goal is to play our best basketball that we can play. It has gotten us this far, and if we can achieve that, we are confident that it will take us places people don't expect us to be."
On Canada receiving the last berth to the Olympics ... "We are definitely that nitty-gritty, hard-nosed team that will not roll over. It is so like our character to take the path of the most resistance. That being said, it was so special for us to win our Olympic berth on Canada Day (July 1), and have that information announced to some 20,000 Canadian fans in Trafalgar Square. It is something I will never ever forget."
On achieving of her goal of playing in the Olympics ... "It was something I told myself in high school that I wanted to do. From that moment on, I gave it everything I had, training and conditioning and making myself good enough to compete at that level. There were a few people that believed I would do it before I believed it, and they pushed me and taught me how to be a world-class athlete. Here I am, at 24 years old, and all of my dreams have come true. I am so very blessed."
On her plans following the Olympics ... "I am headed back to Australia after a little break at home. I absolutely loved playing over there. After winning the championship with my team this past year, I knew I would have to go back and see if we could repeat that. That's the competitor in me."
On her schedule ... "Typically in the morning is a lift, followed by some conditioning on my own. Then is treatment and recovery based on what I need. In the afternoon, I do some coaching, either at schools or one-on-one with kids. Before practice, I have a 30-60 minute individual workout with my coach, and a two-hour practice follows that. That's pretty much the routine I follow."
On her family support in London ... "Both of my parents came to London. They have been my two biggest supporters my whole life and did not hesitate to jump at the opportunity to come to London and support me in the Olympics."
On all of the Michigan ties at the 2012 Olympics ... "I think it speaks to the history of excellence and the strength of all the programs at Michigan that high-performance athletes choose to attend Michigan to help better themselves in their sport. There is a reason our fight song is "The Victors" and has the line 'hail to the victors valiant.' Show me someone who is more valiant than an Olympic athlete. There are more trials and tribulations here than on any stage in the world. The margin for error is so small that a hundredth of a second can mean the difference between a gold medal and no medal. Michigan trains the Leaders and Best, and teaches athletes not only about sport but about themselves and the people they can become if they are willing to put in the work."
On the Opening Ceremony ... "The opening ceremony was, hands down, the best and most defining moment of my life. I was in awe walking into that stadium filled to capacity, hearing the crowd roar as Canada is announced, cameras flashing and Canadian flags waving. I almost forgot to walk I was so busy taking it all in. I don't think I took one picture because I was feeling so many things in that moment, pride, joy, shock, awe; it was all there. It is one thing to be called an Olympian, but I don't think you truly are until you walk into the stadium and it hits you. I feel as though I should look up a word that encompasses that feeling and does it better justice than I can. It was like everything I have done up until now, all of the sacrifice, hardship, injury, sweat, blood, tears; in that moment it was all worth it. The slate is clean. I love basketball for everything it has given me, the person it has helped shape me into and the moments it has given me that I will never forget."
Former Wolverine Krista Phillips (2007-10) is making her first Olympic appearance after spending five years with the Canadian National Team. Canada is back in the Olympics for the first time since 2000 after securing the last berth with a 71-63 win over Japan in the FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament. In the qualifier, she averaged 6.2 points and 6.4 rebounds in 18.8 minutes per game. Since joining the Canadian program in 2005 as a member of the junior national team, Phillips has played in 70 international games and was elevated to the senior national team in 2010. A four-year letterwinner at Michigan, Phillips ranks No. 19 on U-M's all-time scoring list with 1,090 points and ninth on the all-time rebound list with 707. She is Michigan's leader in games played at 127.