Although the Tokyo Games have officially been postponed, 39-year-old Sue Bird isn't discouraged by the longer road ahead.
"Sure, there are still some naysayers when they see my age," the Seattle Storm and Team USA guard said Tuesday, according to ESPN's Mechelle Voepel. "Now that the Olympics have been moved to 2021, I'm sure the conversation about myself and Diana (Taurasi) will change a little bit: 'Oh, it's one year later.'
"But the reality is, I don't actually think it changes much. Because we have found a way to stay on top of our game."
Bird and Taurasi, her 37-year-old WNBA foil and former Connecticut teammate, have piloted Team USA to Olympic gold at each of the past four women's basketball tournaments.
However, both have seen injuries hinder their professional careers in recent years. After helping the Storm win the 2018 WNBA title, Bird missed the entire 2019 season after undergoing surgery on her left knee last May. Taurasi, a Phoenix Mercury lifer, made just six appearances in 2019 due to back and hamstring ailments.
"If you can take care of yourself and keep yourself in a playing shape, we can still hang," Bird said. "If you can do that, your intellect, your experience - those things take over. That's where you really have an advantage."
If Bird does suit up in the summer of 2021 at age 40, she will set a new distinction as the oldest American woman to play at the Olympics. Former Indiana Fever star Tamika Catchings currently holds the record, making the team at age 37 at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.