Belinda Snell won three consecutive silver medals as a member of the Australian women’s basketball team in 2000, 2004 and 2008 before going on to claim a bronze medal in 2012. The Victorian was a key contributor to an Opals unit that emerged as one of Australia’s most successful international teams. In Snell’s first three Olympic tournaments, Australia won seven straight matches to reach the gold medal final, only to lose to arch-rival the United States.
During her fourth campaign in London, Snell will be remembered for hitting a miraculous three point shot from the half way line in the dying second of a crucial preliminary match against France. This forced the game into overtime, giving the Aussies a lifeline to top their pool. But Snell’s magic was not enough and the Aussies lost 74-70, relegating them to second in their pool.
After defeating China in the quarter-final (75-60), they faced the USA earlier than expected for a berth in the gold medal match. As the world number one USA had done in three previous Olympic campaigns, they beat the Australians (86-73) and went on to take gold over the French. Australia faced Russia for the bronze, winning 83-74 to continue the Opals’ strong Olympic record.
As well as her Olympic success, Snell was an integral member of the Opals when they won the 2006 World Championship, Australia’s first senior world title in the sport. She has also enjoyed a fine club career in Australia and abroad.