August 22, 2016 - by
Silver Medal Significance for Romero and Rodriguez

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – Current Seminole Leticia Romero and FSU Alumna Leonor Rodriguez capped their first Olympic Run on Saturday with a silver medal at the Summer Olympic Games in Rio. For the two women’s hoops standouts at FSU, the achievement carries plenty of weight. Spain’s silver medal is its first medal of any kind for the women’s basketball program in the Summer Olympic Games. This year’s appearance was Spain’s fourth in the Summer Games, including its first since qualifying for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Spain’s best finishes at the Olympics prior to 2016 came in 1992 (Barcelona) and 2008, placing fifth each time. It also qualified in 2004 in Athens, finishing sixth after falling to Brazil and the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals and placement game, respectively.

Romero, who will enter her senior season at Florida State, showed several spurts of development with the Spanish Olympic Team. The Canary Islands native averaged 5.8 points off the bench, and had her breakout moment in the team’s third game against China when she burst for 16 points (6-of-6 shooting) in 14 minutes of play.

Rodriguez, who also hails from the Canary Islands, also had her moment in a 97-43 win over Senegal. She delivered 12 points in 14 minutes off the bench, helping give each Seminole a double-figure performance in the points column on the world’s biggest stage.

Silver Medal Significance for Romero and Rodriguez

Together, the duo off the bench helped the Spaniards to a 6-2 record in this year’s Olympic Games. The previous best for wins in a single Olympics for the Spaniards came in the 2004 Games when it posted four victories (unfortunately all in group play). In that year Spain went 4-1 in group qualification, defeating the Czech Republic (80-78), China (75-67), New Zealand (91-57) and South Korea (64-61).

The journey to Spain’s ascension is traced with Romero and Rodriguez’s involvement. In the 2011 Eurobasket prior to their arrival, Spain finished 10th among 16 European teams and failed to qualify for the Olympics. Two years later, however, it emerged to win the 2013 Eurobasket, it’s first Euro title since 1993.

The important FIBA World Championship in Turkey followed in 2014, the first time Romero and Rodriguez earned a spot on the Spanish National Team. Spain once again took control, defeating host Turkey in the semifinals but falling to the United States (77-64) in the championship game. Without a championship, Spain still needed to qualify for the 2016 Olympics.

A loss to France in the 2015 Eurobasket semifinals eventually resulted in a third-place finish, but Spain would qualify this past summer in the qualifying tournament held in France. Rodriguez got a chance to shine once more, finishing with a game-high 24 points in an 83-55 win over Venezuela, helping solidify her spot on the Olympic roster.

Romero and Rodriguez join FSU Track & Field’s Alonzo Russell (4×400) and Stephen Newbold (4×400) as medalists in Rio. The two women’s basketball representatives became the 11th and 12th Olympic medalists from FSU.

The duo also became the first FSU members to finish with a silver medal at the Summer Olympic Games since Kim Batten earned silver in the 400m hurdles in Atlanta in 1996.

Related Articles