Olympic dreams … Abby Bishop is now on her way to London.Basketball has taken Abby Bishop around the world but as she prepares for the biggest moment of her career, the former Canberra Capital revealed she almost quit when she lost her passion for the sport.
Bishop left Canberra on Monday to begin her Olympic Games journey.
It’s the dream she’s been trying to reach since arriving at the Australian Institute of Sport as a boom teenager in 2005.
Since then she has conquered the WNBL, won a WNBA title and played at a world championship.
But life as a semi professional took its toll and Bishop was ready to give basketball away just 18 months ago.
Her love of the game disappeared and it became a chore.
But with the Australian Opals chasing an elusive gold medal, the 23-year-old’s passion is back and she is ready to perform on the world stage.
“There have been a few moments where I wasn’t sure about basketball, I felt like I was missing out on what my friends were doing,” Bishop said.
“But I realised they envy what I do and that I do love the game and I’m not taking it for granted again.
“There were times when I didn’t want to do it any more, I didn’t enjoy my time at Dandenong [in the WNBL in 2010-11].
“The biggest thing is you have to enjoy it, you have to find a way to be happy and that’s the biggest thing I’ve learnt.
“It has just made me stronger and helped me in my journey to where I am now.”
The Opals will be one of the first teams to arrive in London as they aim to better the silver medals they have won at the last three Olympics.
Superstar Lauren Jackson will lead the campaign. But with Penny Taylor out of action, Bishop and her teammates need to rise to a new level to reach the top.
Capitals coach Carrie Graf will lead the gold medal bid with former Canberra player Suzy Batkovic also in the side.
Bishop saw limited game time at her world championship debut two years ago, but her workload will increase in London.
“Everyone goes to an Olympics wanting to win gold and that’s what we want to do,” Bishop said.
“I think it will hit me when we get to the [Olympic] village … I’ve grown as a player and I feel as ready as I can be.”
Bishop has lived a nomadic life during her basketball career.
Originally from South Australia, Bishop moved to Canberra to start a scholarship with the AIS.
She left the program early to join the Capitals and played in three championships.
After helping the team to a title in 2010-11, she joined the Seattle Storm in the United States, returned to Australia to play for Dandenong and moved to the Adelaide Lightning last year.
At the end of the Olympics, she will join French club Perpignan.
But “Canberra is my home” and Bishop is building a house in Bonner.
“Everyone says why do you live in Canberra, but I’ve been here for seven years now and I love it,” Bishop said.
“It’s my base and I’ve got amazing friends and I’ll always come back here.”
The Opals are in the same group as Great Britain, Brazil, Russia, France and Canada.
They will play their first match against Great Britain on July 28.
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