Support staffer for the men’s basketball team will compete at the London summer games
July 25, 2012
Alisha Tatham will be taking her game to the world’s biggest sporting event as a member of the Canadian women's national basketball team. This is the first time in 12 years that the team will compete in the Olympics - the Brampton native helped the team clinch a spot with a victory against Japan on Canada Day at the FIBA Olympic qualifying tournament.
“This has been a dream for me for many years,” says Tatham. “If you talk to any athlete that wears Canada on their chest, it’s such a proud opportunity for them and proud moment for them to represent their country on such a big stage for sports.”
Tatham has been a member of the support staff for the Ryerson Rams men's basketball team for the 2011-2012 season and has worked as a mentor for the women’s basketball team during the pre-season.
She offers a lot of inspiration and experience. She has played in Europe in both a Swiss and Belgium league, and played extensively for her alma mater, the University of Massachusetts. Tatham first appeared on the national stage in 2004 when she represented Canada in an exhibition game against Cuba.
Getting ready for her debut at the Olympics has now become a family affair. Tatham’s sister Tamara will join her on the court as another member of Canada’s Olympic team and her brother Patrick, who served as director of basketball operations of the Ryerson Rams men’s basketball team last season, has been helping his sisters fine-tune their game.
The five-foot-eleven guard says the support of her siblings has made preparing easier and she fondly remembers growing up with them.
“We’re definitely a sports family,” says Tatham. “We watched a lot of track, basketball and gymnastics. Whenever the Olympics came on every four years, it was definitely something that was on at the Tatham household.”
“For me to be playing the game I love on the biggest stage with someone I love, that I’m so close to, you can’t explain that in words,” says Tatham. “I’m so happy and grateful for that and very excited to see her play at that level.”
Since that 12 year absence from the Olympics, Tatham has seen huge improvements in the Canadian basketball program. One of the key members in that cultural change has been Ryerson Rams head coach Roy Rana. He has been successful at both the high school and international level and, most recently, took the men’s basketball team to the national championship for the first time in more than a decade.
“To see how he coaches the guys and for me play against that and have him as a coach in practice has really helped me take my game to whole other level,” says Tatham.
Tatham is set to make her Olympic debut on Saturday, July 28.
“We are going to train the way we have been training for the past four years because that is what got us here, so we are not going change it now just because we’re going to the Olympics, says Tatham. “The focus is there and we want to stay loose and have fun.”