Tamika Catchings closing book on team USA career with gold medal

The Fever's Tamika Catchings and Pacer Paul George took a photo together in the plane on their way to RIO. Catchings posted it on Instagram. (Provided Photo/Tamika Catchings Instagram)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Bankers Life Fieldhouse is full of reminders that Tamika Catchings and Pacer counterpart Paul George returned to Indianapolis as Olympic champions.

Catching closing the book on her illustrious team USA career with ten gold medals across multiple competitions. Four of them Olympic titles spanning a dozen years, a perfect ending to one chapter of her basketball life.

“I feel like it went by so fast,” said Catching, back practicing with the Fever. “But that last game, it was just like, oh my gosh, this is it. It’s the last time I’ll get to represent my country on the court. I might go back in another phase in a different role with the team, but it definitely hit me, when those tears came out, I was like, ok, control yourself, pull yourself together, but it was an emotional moment.”

The special moments continued on the flight back to the U.S. Tamika traveled with Paul George and the men’s team, prompting a special photo and tweet with her Fieldhouse friend.

“Yeah, it was fun,” added Catching. “We took one going, when we first went, I was like you know what? Hopefully, when we get back on this plane, we’ll both have a medal, he was like, I hope so, PG gets that dreamy look. So when we came back I was like, alright, we got to take our picture, so we pulled out our little medals, and he was like, we gotta do something different, so there you go.”

Catching’s place in the women’s game has already been cemented. Pioneer, leader, role model, champion and for Tamika there will be a time to look back on her incredible Olympic accomplishments with the next generation.

“I think one day when I’m older and have my kids, and we’re sitting there and we’re watching the Olympics, I’ll be like, yeah, I’ve got a couple of those medals too, they’re going to look at me like, yeah mom, I’ll have to go to my archive, pull out the medals and start showing them, but definitely it’s awesome, it’s been an awesome journey.”

Sixteen years of being the best. Catching’s is hoping for a repeat of 2012, when she followed up a gold medal in London with the Fever’s only WNBA championship.

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