Jackson’s agreement leads the way for the complete Jayco Opals squad to utilise the period of May, June and July for rehabilitation, training and preparatory competition as the Opals target the 2012 Olympic Gold Medal.
“I am so excited about having the Opals as my only priority and commitment,” said Jackson. “I truly believe that this is the perfect preparation for the Jayco Opals to achieve history through winning Olympic Gold,” she said.
The agreement has been the result of negotiations between Basketball Australia, Lauren Jackson’s management and Jackson’s Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) club, the Seattle Storm.
The move was fuelled by a Basketball Australia mid-term review of the Jayco Opals following the 2010 World Championships, which clearly identified that Jackson and her Jayco Opals teammates needed to establish a preparation schedule that allowed the players to develop as a unit over a concentrated and exclusive period.
Basketball Australia’s Chairman of the High Performance Commission, John Maddock was excited by the move, acknowledging the need for the Jayco Opals, one of Australian sports most successful sporting teams, to get together early in preparation for their London Olympic campaign.
“This Basketball Australia mid-term review clearly identified that the strategy needed for the future success of the Jayco Opals in London revolved around a concentrated preparation campaign,” he said. “The support of the Australian Sports Commission has allowed us to address this.”
The Australian Sports Commission has supported the ‘exclusive initiative’ by providing resources to prepare the Jayco Opals for their Gold Medal bid.
As a result of the move, Jackson will miss the first half of the 2012 WNBA regular season to commit to the Australian-based program, and will rejoin her Seattle Storm teammates following the conclusion of the London Olympic Games.