Sports2022 Winter Olympics


Bucks sideline reporter Zora Stephenson discusses love of sports, road to Olympics

Posted at 6:35 AM, Aug 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-03 07:38:06-04

Zora Stephenson is living a charmed life.

"There was a certain point, very, very early in my career, playing basketball where I realized, like, 'Zora you're not going to the Olympics as an athlete, right?'" Zora Stephenson says. "And once I got into my professional career? This is on everybody's, you know, bucket list."

From NBA title as the Bucks sideline reporter to Olympic glory.

"I've had goals of telling stories at the highest level, for years," Stephenson says. "And this is exactly what this is. It's multiple forms of storytelling, and athletes will say like, what higher level is there than the Olympics, competing against the best in the world."

Whether it's good, or bad, Zora could be documenting history.

Lance Allan asked "is there any part of you that goes, man, everybody is gunning for them and one little slip? Who knows?"

"I think on both sides," Stephenson says "Like, everybody wants to beat the U.S. And so that's why you have to bring your A-game, every game. And it's pressure-packed, but that's what these athletes prepare for. That's why they are the best because they can handle these situations."

And she loves athletes who break barriers.

"I just think of Simone Manuel, who you know like as a Black girl growing up? Like getting in the pool, her hair was always a thing. And like your counterparts, who look different than you, could jump in the pool and then wash their hair right away and it would look the same. And for us it was different, and so just to see a powerful Black woman swimming? That just in itself, she stands for so much. And so the Olympics is so much more than about sports. And like I said? Try to get through the Olympics without crying, you won't do it."

Stephenson's love of the Olympics comes from her admiration of sports.

"Gymnastics is always amazing because, like you don't even understand how miraculous it is when they do everything because we could never," Stephenson says. "We could never! And so you just have to appreciate that. Track and field, specifically like 100 meters. You're like oh, I could do that. Like I could run it in, you know, however many ever seconds. And no, like you can't. Try watching the Olympics without crying, right? I mean because to me it's the stories that get me. I mean the athletic accomplishment is one thing. But it's everything that these athletes stand for and what they've had to go through to get there and be able to perform on this stage, at this moment, because you've got one shot."

That emotion? You can't fake.

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