#Rio2016 | Burton Selected for Rio as Opals Dream of Gold

Basketball | Published: Tue 12 July 2016

Western Australian athlete Natalie Burton has earned selection in the 12 member Australian Opals squad looking to win gold at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.


The Opals have claimed medals at the past five Games dating back to Atlanta 1996, but have yet to take top step on the medal dais, a trend that this Australian team is looking to stem in Brazil.


Burton at 27 years of age, is the only Western Australian in the Opals’ squad, with the 194cm tall centre debuting in 2013 and quickly becoming a fixture in the national team set up.


The Perth Lynx representative was a member of the Opals’ team that claimed bronze at the 2014 World Championships, whilst her teammate and triple Olympian Penny Taylor, believes this 2016 group can go all the way in Rio.


"Gold is always the goal at an Olympic Games but we know there is a long way to getting the chance to play for that gold medal,” said the dual Olympic silver medallist.


"We have a strong team and a very similar team to what we had at the 2014 World Championships and I think (coach) Brendan (Joyce) has done a wonderful job implementing a system that we love being a part of.


"We play Brazil first up and playing the home side in the first game is always going to be a huge challenge in itself.”


Following that challenge on Day 1 of the Olympics (August 6), Australia then faces Turkey on Day 2 (August 7), before rounding out their group stage fixtures with clashes against France on Day 4 (August 9), Japan on Day 6 (August 11) and Belarus on Day 8 (August 13). The Opals will need to finish in the top four of the group to progress to the quarter-finals.


Australia have won five consecutive medals at Olympic level, with bronze in Atlanta 1996 followed by three straight silver medals in Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008. They lost to the USA in the semi-finals of the London 2012 Games before defeating Russia to claim the bronze medal.


Burton becomes the 33rd officially selected athlete on the 2016 Australian Olympic Team.


Athlete Profile:


Natalie Burton